User Score
8.5

Universal acclaim- based on 333 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 16 out of 333
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  1. Moose
    Jul 5, 2004
    4
    This is not a magical movie. If anything, it's a terribly sad piece that sees a distant father/son relationship never rectified or fulfilled despite the son?s numerous attempts to find out who his ?real? father is. Instead the father fails to draw himself out of his make believe world in time to realise his son is crushed by his ?smoke and mirrors? routine. For me the sadness and This is not a magical movie. If anything, it's a terribly sad piece that sees a distant father/son relationship never rectified or fulfilled despite the son?s numerous attempts to find out who his ?real? father is. Instead the father fails to draw himself out of his make believe world in time to realise his son is crushed by his ?smoke and mirrors? routine. For me the sadness and frustration the son experiences is never offset by the ?magic? of his fathers? fables simply because the fables themselves were always unimaginative and boring (a giant, a circus and a town which no one ever wants to leave ? it?s all either ?been there, done that? or, quite simply, ?who cares??). I think Burton wanted the ?magic? to rise above everything else, but for me the emotions of the son were too strong and too real, and were certainly not made up for by the final ?death bed story?. Expand
  2. BrechtS.
    Jan 1, 2008
    5
    Poor film - not a good story for a fim. Visually not captivating. No suspense. Mellow ending. No evolving characters (or characters with depth).
  3. Aug 27, 2011
    5
    Big Fish is a sad film, but not in the way it wants to be. It is a film of such tremendous imagination and such poignancy in its moments of genuine emotion, that when it betrays itself for a shallow and unfair resolution, you're astonished at how everything about it has gone to waste. The audience feels betrayed that everything they've come to enjoy takes a turn for something they wouldBig Fish is a sad film, but not in the way it wants to be. It is a film of such tremendous imagination and such poignancy in its moments of genuine emotion, that when it betrays itself for a shallow and unfair resolution, you're astonished at how everything about it has gone to waste. The audience feels betrayed that everything they've come to enjoy takes a turn for something they would like to avoid, such as unresolved emotion disguised as closure, and selfish actions being accepted. Expand
  4. JohnY.
    Jan 6, 2004
    6
    Burton used to be one of my favorite directors, but film by film, he's letting me down. Watching "Big Fish" is like not being let in on the joke; there are scenes here that I think we are suppose to find amusing or clever, but they aren't really memorable. The narrative clunks along, and I could care less about these one-dimensional characters. Yes, there are glimses of classic Burton used to be one of my favorite directors, but film by film, he's letting me down. Watching "Big Fish" is like not being let in on the joke; there are scenes here that I think we are suppose to find amusing or clever, but they aren't really memorable. The narrative clunks along, and I could care less about these one-dimensional characters. Yes, there are glimses of classic Burton here and there, and the film is visually splendid, but I'd be lying if I didn't say I was often bored. Where's the director I once loved? Expand
  5. WAKOJAKO
    Jan 14, 2004
    5
    As well as I like Tim Burton's previous work, I really didn't feel drawn into Big Fish. The film starts well enough, and the present day scenes with Albert Finney et al work really well (thus the 5 points). But the tall tales parts felt way too...pedantic--not at all like Burton. Most of those characters didn't just feel fake, but didn't feel like characters at all. As well as I like Tim Burton's previous work, I really didn't feel drawn into Big Fish. The film starts well enough, and the present day scenes with Albert Finney et al work really well (thus the 5 points). But the tall tales parts felt way too...pedantic--not at all like Burton. Most of those characters didn't just feel fake, but didn't feel like characters at all. Despite the obvious possibilities, the whole thing lacked imagination. Expand
  6. Nov 14, 2014
    6
    A most imaginative film, this movie shows some thought in plot construction. However, there is no sense of pacing or climax until the movie's end is 4 minutes away.
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
  1. 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.
  2. Reviewed by: Clint Morris
    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. A misfire. The film that wants to be lighter than air instead crashes to earth with the swiftness of a concrete parachute.