Movies almost always fail to serve the literature from which they spring. Whether it's the effect of some unnecessary violation of the source material, or simply the inherent difficulty in translating an undulating ocean of words into a rushing river of pictures, films often struggle at the process of adaptation. Which is no surprise, really, given the task at hand; the near Herculean process of making what can be eloquently described into what can be truthfully felt. So it is rare, then, to find a film that not only improves upon the book of its origin, but somehow seems to complete it, as if the short novella by Daniel Wallace which first began Big Fish was only the smallest part of its intention.
Perhaps it can be attributed to the fact that Big Fish is a book about tall tales, told by a father to his son so frequently and with such truth that the son can no longer tell what of his father is fact, and what is fiction. And, oh, how that matters beneath the blankets of the deathbed, when the living are left only with the want of closure, of history, documentary and honest, unmarred by the grand tales of the dying. And it is here, by the side of his alienated and dying father (played with brilliant charisma by the great Albert Finney) that the son (Billy Crudup) comes to find the truth.
But of course he doesn't. Because with Edward Bloom, there is no truth, or, at least, no such truth that others would believe. And so starts a film of beautiful depth and imagery, of a life told in wonderfully broad strokes, encompassing a world that few have seen but might often have hoped for. The younger Edward Bloom (played with all the charm of Ewan McGregor) is a simple man - a good and honest man - who, if you believe the stories, lived a life full of impossibilities