A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Will (Billy Crudup) believes that his father Edward (Albert Finney) has used his embellished tales to hide his true self. After he steals the show at Will's wedding with a story about trying to capture a legendary big fish, Will cuts off communications with his dad, maintaining contact only through his mother (Jessica Lange). Will and his wife move far away, and Will becomes a fact-based journalist. When he learns that his father is dying, he comes home to try one more time to know what is true, to feel that he really knows his father. Once again, Edward tells a story from his past. We see young Edward (Ewan McGregor) leaving home in search of adventure. He finds a giant, a witch, a werewolf, a town where no one wears shoes, a highly unusual singing sister act, and the love of his life, Sandra (Alison Lohman), who is engaged to someone else.
Is it any good?
Big Fish is the enchanting story of a father and son, but it's really the story of stories themselves. It's about all kinds of stories, from the first stories whispered by a father to a sleepy child to the stories a son tells his father to comfort him as he nears death. Facts are fine, but some truths can only be told by fiction, and this movie tells a captivating tale that is a delight for the eye, the heart, and the spirit.
Director Tim Burton, like Edward, believes that it's the fantastic that deserves our attention more than the mundane. The ravishing images are marvels, but it's the heart of the stories that captivate, especially when it all comes together at the end in a moving conclusion filled with connection, understanding, and forgiveness.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: December 10, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: April 27, 2004
- Cast: Albert Finney, Ewan McGregor, Jessica Lange
- Director: Tim Burton
- Studio: Columbia Tristar
- Genre: Fantasy
- Run time: 125 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: a fight scene, some images of nudity and a suggestive reference
For kids who love fantasy
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.