In the film Big Fish, directed by Tim Burton, Edward Bloom recounts his life stories, causing his son William Bloom to question their authenticity and strain their father-son relationship. However, it is the extraordinary nature of Edward’s whimsical narratives that makes them truly remarkable.
Will’s childhood was filled with the joy of listening to his father’s captivating stories, which were made all the more enchanting by his use of realistic imagination. One night, before bed, Will eagerly requested a bedtime story from his father. Despite the potential for nightmares, his father chose to recount the Witch Story. This tale showcased the power of enchanting realism, as it brought to life witches that do not exist in reality. Through this magical portrayal, Will came to see his father as an extraordinary individual who had actually encountered a witch with a glass eye. As a result, Will developed a deep admiration for his father and their bond grew stronger than ever.
As Will grew older, he started questioning the authenticity of his father’s stories. One reason for his skepticism was the frequent use of magical realism, which made it difficult to believe their truthfulness. Will found it hard to accept that his father’s car could actually get stuck in a tree or that his boss was truly a wolfman. Additionally, he couldn’t imagine that his father had been in the army and encountered Thai twins who helped him escape. These exaggerations made Will doubt his father’s real identity. Gradually, Will adopts a more realistic perspective and asserts that cars cannot really get stuck in trees and wolfmen are not actual creatures. As a result, he stops directly communicating with his father for three years and only resorts to written correspondence. This lack of face-to-face interaction causes their paternal bond to weaken.
After discovering his father’s illness, Will realizes the true significance of his father’s stories. Prior to his father’s death, he comes across a letter stating that his father had died in the war, causing him to question the validity of his father’s War Story. While examining the letter, Will’s mother reveals that not all of Edward’s stories were false. This revelation prompts Will to reevaluate his father’s narratives. As his father lays in the hospital bed, struggling for breath and barely able to speak, he asks Will to recount the story of his death. It is during this retelling of the Death Story that Will finally comprehends why his father’s tales were genuine reflections of himself. At the funeral, Will witnesses all those who were mentioned in his dad’s stories – including a supposedly towering giant and a circus boss described as a “werewolf,” along with Thai twins. Additionally, he observes everyone at the funeral repeating these stories and recognizes their profound impact on people.
Despite his father’s tendency to exaggerate his stories, which often annoyed Will, he eventually comes to understand and accept why his father did it. When Will’s own son is born, he passes on his father’s stories, recognizing that his father became the stories themselves, allowing him to live on forever.