Big Fish


Mixed or average reviews - based on 42 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 42
  2. Negative: 3 out of 42

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Critic Reviews

  1. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    Big Fish really is a big delight.
  2. 90
    A tale that's so enriching, so heartwarming, so funny, so touching and so breathtaking, you'll wonder why the king of wackiness didn't branch out sooner.
  3. 88
    Director Tim Burton finally hooks the one that got away: a script that challenges and deepens his visionary talent.
  4. 88
    Even with Burton's imagination turning its trademark cartwheels, the film's big beating heart holds the whimsical offshoots steady.
  5. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Has enough tasty bait to satisfy an array of moviegoers: Burton fans, Albert Finney fans, fans of tall tales well spun by experts and fans of movies that don't look like any other.
  6. A word of warning. Big Fish is so strange and so literary that audiences seeking conventional fare may get impatient with it. But it always takes effort to catch the big ones. This one is worth it.
  7. 88
    This picture boasts a story about a yarn-spinning Southern father (Albert Finney) and a sober-sided son (Billy Crudup) that gives it ballast and staying power beyond anything in previous, precious Burton fables like "Edward Scissorhands" or "Ed Wood."
  8. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    When it catches fire, this great-looking movie offers hilarious diversions.
  9. 80
    Burton rebounds in a big way with Big Fish, a Daniel Wallace adaptation and visual feast that recaptures the fairy-tale simplicity and wrenching emotional power of "Edward Scissorhands."
  10. 80
    An achievement of this magnitude is a stunning and extremely pleasant surprise.
  11. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    In anchoring the whimsy to something more heartfelt, Burton is greatly aided by Billy Crudup, who underplays potentially cringeworthy bedside scenes with his dying dad.
  12. The movie is a gently overstuffed cinematic piñata, crammed with tall tales -- with giants and circuses and fairy-tale woods, plus a huge squirmy catfish, all served up with a literal matter-of-fact fancy that is very pleasing.
  13. 75
    Big Fish is a clever, smart fantasy that targets the child inside every adult, without insulting the intelligence of either.
  14. Burton's film is an American version of the Odyssey.
  15. 75
    Too well-made and well-acted to be entirely cute -- but the result is fairly tepid in comparison to the overheated highlights of Burton's career.
  16. Like virtually all fish stories, it's discursive, funny, full of boasting, a suspect mix of truth and lies with an emphasis on the latter.
  17. Such astringent details as a banjo player plucking a few ominous notes from "Dueling Banjos" when Ed first lays eyes on the Norman Rockwellian beauty of Spectre ensure that the story's fundamental sweetness never becomes cloying.
  18. There's delight to be had from watching Burton conjure up one fantastical Edward-inspired scenario after another.
  19. An engagingly whimsical, sporadically charming, frequently very funny Southern Gothic fantasy that somehow doesn't quite come together to be as magical or meaningful as it's intended to be.
  20. The problem is, there's just not enough Burton in Big Fish.
  21. But Burton and August have added ­anger to the mix, and it sours much of the otherwise wondrous tone.
  22. 63
    Big Fish of course is a great-looking film, with a fantastical visual style that could be called Felliniesque if Burton had not by now earned the right to the adjective Burtonesque.
  23. 63
    This is a theme tailor-made for Burton, although there are times in the movie when it feels like he's not taking enough advantage of it.
  24. 63
    The actor's job here is the hardest to pull off, since practical skepticism in a Tim Burton picture is next to villainy. Yet Crudup suggests complex grown-up feelings that makes the rest of Big Fish feel like an earnest collection of magic tricks.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 383 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 10 out of 123
  1. AlonsoC.
    Jul 11, 2009
    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
    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
    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 »