Why is it that the literature that attracts me the most usually involves the complicated and painful relationships of fathers and sons? I'm neither a father nor a son...and pretty darned sure I'll never be either! Anyway, Big Fish is a fantastic film featuring the complicated relationship of a son trying to reconcile himself to a father he doesn't know.
A few plot points from your friend neighborhood starving girl... The young man grows up at first enamoured with a father who tells tall tales. Unfortunately said young man grows into an adult who can barely tolerate the same story over and over again. Now, we can all relate to this. Frankly, my wonderful husband has told me the story of hearing a young lady (hot woman actually) sing "Black Velvet" at a USO show maybe upwards of 12 times. Every time we hear this song on the radio I know that story is only moments away and brace myself! The son eventually turns from his father, insisting that he knows nothing of the man.
The film is told in duality of the young man learning that his ailing (and dying) father didn't actually lie, but merely added to the truth taking the daily and mundane aspects of life and turning them into something worthy of folklore. The story of the discovery of the son is paralleled by the life story of the father... told with all the wonderful early beauty of Tim Burton. Cliched statements like "time stood still" become a reality as Ewan McGregor walks through a field of frozen popcorn to get a look at the girl that would become his wife. Taking the "road less traveled" turns into a chance to meet "the right place at the wrong time" twice. This film communicates in it's sweet and very understated way that the truth isn't the goal, it's the telling. The son and father are only reconciled as the son realizes that the truth isn't what ties them, it's the telling, the tradition of talking and telling that has linked them.
I cried. What ties me and my dad together... ropes I suppose, other than that, he's Frank, I'm AnneMarie and never the twain shall meet.