Big Fish, a Tim Burton classic, depicts a tale of a charismatic storyteller who often fabricates the truth for the sake of an amusing narrative. The teller of farfetched stories, Edward Bloom, humiliates his son, William, on his wedding day by sharing a fictitious story about the day Will was born.
Evidently, Will is not a big fan of the fictional tales that his father swears by, as he fails to understand the art of storytelling that speaks to Edward. Will becomes irked by his father’s ridiculous episodes, which causes a lack of communication between the two. While it is common for a father-son duo to occasionally quarrel, their dispute lasted for nearly three years.
As he learns that Edward has been diagnosed with cancer, Will demands to acquire truthful information about his father’s life. Edward, as we know it, tends to stretch the authenticity of his past; thus, he includes many whimsical details when sharing his childhood. Edward reveals that he meets a witch who has a glass eye and discovers his eventual death by gazing into the eye. Once Edward discovers his eventual death, he has no qualms about engaging in a risky and adventurous lifestyle.
Edward’s imagination allows him to believe that he will grow bigger in a larger environment and that his ambition is far too extravagant for the small town of Ashton. Edward discovers a gigantic, strange man named Karl and persuades him to accompany him as he flees from Ashton. Edward meets and falls in love with a woman named Sandra, goes to war, meets a werewolf and Siamese twin singers.
While Will is still unamused by his father’s exaggerated tales, he does investigation to discover some truth about Edward’s journey and the real story of his birth. It is only when Edward becomes too frail to complete his story that he asks his son to tell a spontaneous tall tale. Seeing his father in a state of utter physical pain, Will accepts Edward’s excitement of storytelling.
At Edward’s funeral, Will finally meets some of the odd characters from his father’s adventure that he always presumed were completely made up. Although they were rather exaggerated, Will makes sense of his father’s storytelling and decides to pass the stories onto his own son.
The stories lead to a closer connection and stronger bond that Will only began to recognize during his father’s illness and after his death. Big Fish certainly captures a father-son dynamic in which a beautiful collaboration allows them to appreciate, love, and accept each other in the end.