Metascore
58

Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 42
  2. Negative: 3 out of 42
Watch On
  1. 60
    What is most disappointing about Big Fish is the nervousness of its fantasizing--a strange unwillingness, new in Burton's work, to trust the wit of the audience. [15 December 2003, p. 119]
  2. Simultaneously beguiling and frustrating -- the product of an imagist and dramatist uncomfortably conjoined.
  3. For the first time, Burton seems comfortable walking around the real world.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    The imaginatively illustrated but precariously precious film offers up a string of minor pleasures but never becomes more than moderately amusing or involving.
  5. Has moments of genuine emotion...but overall, the film feels like it issues from a place Burton doesn't inhabit.
  6. The most curious thing about this magical-realist fable...is how thin and soft it is, how unpersuasive and ultimately forgettable even its most strenuous inventions turn out to be.
  7. 50
    It's nicely made, well shot, and reasonably well acted, yet it's enough to filet the life force right out of you. We need stories in order to dream, and to live. But that doesn't mean we have to buy every crappy one that comes down the pike.
  8. The Alabama setting is as phony as the one in Forrest Gump, and for all of Finney's effectiveness as a yarn-spinning geezer, his whoppers seem disconnected from his character and each other--a weakness Burton fails to resolve with an awkward Felliniesque finale.
  9. A misfire. The film that wants to be lighter than air instead crashes to earth with the swiftness of a concrete parachute.
  10. Reviewed by: Richard Corliss
    40
    The film fairly groans from all the narrative gamesmanship and lavish romantic gestures...The unbewitched viewer may groan as well.
  11. 40
    An abundance of dull exposition building up to the son's attempt to cap his father's whoppers climaxes with a tedious flurry of Fellini-esque endings and Spielbergian fillips. The magic doesn't work twice -- or even once.
  12. 40
    The whole seems disjointed, incoherent and lacking in the startling originality of the other two Edwards (Scissorhands and Wood) who, half a career back, poured from Burton's distended outsider imagination.
  13. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    40
    The most fluid, lyrical, and even-toned work of his (Burton's) career. It's also the most boring by a factor of 10.
  14. 40
    Tim Burton is all grown up and getting serious with this wildly scattershot tale.
User Score
8.6

Universal acclaim- based on 358 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 122
  1. AlonsoC.
    Jul 11, 2009
    10
    A You-Must-See Movie, one of my favorite movies of all time, it has a funny part and has it serious and lovely part, you always learn A You-Must-See Movie, one of my favorite movies of all time, it has a funny part and has it serious and lovely part, you always learn something about life in this movie. And as Sam F. Says, this is one of those movie where you can say that if don't liked it, it's because you didn't get it. One of the greatest movies of all time (in MY opinion). Full Review »
  2. Nov 2, 2010
    0
    This was a fairly trite and predictable story in my view. A real dissapoint after watching Edward scissorhandy. You get the feeling thatThis was a fairly trite and predictable story in my view. A real dissapoint after watching Edward scissorhandy. You get the feeling that burton has sold out. These kind of mythic, sweeping movies have the same feel as forest gump. They are all too transparent with their message and leave nothing to the imagination. The characters are not believable and it feels an hour too long. Full Review »
  3. Jul 16, 2012
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Big Fish is a peculiar movie, even for being a Tim Burton picture. It is about the life of a man whose father loves to tells stories from the time he was young, but the problem is that the anecdotes are hard to believe, because there are extremely rare and unlikely to happen; for example the story of the eye of a witch that can tell you when you are going to die, the one of a giant who is convinced to leave and stop terrifying a town, the circus that is managed by a werewolf or the scape from a war with two Siamese. All this produce constant fights between Edward and his son; and this is one of the topics that Tim Burton treats on his films. Although the other topics from this great director are less developed they are also noticeable: the gothic and expressionist characters (the witch, the giant and the circus manager) and environments (the forest and the witch house); and the contrast between two worlds represented graphically, the present in which Edward tells his stories (darker or opaque colors) and the past in which the stories take place (bright and attractive colors).
    The thing is that does not matter if the anecdotes were real or not, you decide what you want to believe, you can live a boring life and had nothing interesting to tell, no dreams, no hope, no goals; or you can live an amazing life, with endless stories to tell and enjoy being a Big Fish.
    Full Review »