What if you hear your father's exaggerated adventure stories over and over again? The story is that my father meets a witch who sees fate and a giant the size of a house, and goes to a ghost village where time stopped. The film shows the process of understanding the difference between "different" and "wrong" as the son, who can not believe or understand the father's exaggerated story, realizes the truth one by one through the life and story of the father, Edward. How does director Tim Burton, who fills this fantasy-like film with warm family love, convey how to deal with harmony and love with others? Let's find out the deep meaning of what we need to find in life through Big Fish.
Big Fish begins with son Will visiting his parents' house after receiving a message that his father Edward's illness has gotten worse. Edward, a braggart father who worked as a salesman and enjoyed adventure all his life, begins to talk about his adventure even though his condition is critical due to a cancer. His story contains all kinds of unbelievable adventures, and he begins by saying that he went around every corner of the hospital as soon as he was born, grew faster than others due to an unknown "growth disease," and was an inventor and a troubleshooter. Becoming famous in the village, Edward began his journey to meet the bigger world, and made unique friends such as a giant, Jennifer, living in the ghost town Spectre, the head of the werewolf circus, the Siamese twin sister, and the eccentric poet. Then, as soon as she met a woman in the circus, everything froze at first sight, and when she heard that she liked Hwang Soo-sunhwa, she called five states and proposed all the flowers in front of the woman's house. But the son doesn't understand his father's words. Curious about his bluff-free appearance next to his father, who may soon die, his son finds evidence deep in the warehouse that means his father's story is not a lie, and begins to dig into the truth of his father's stories. At his father's funeral, the son meets his friends in his father's story, and realizes that what he was saying was not completely a lie and that he only talked more about what he went through with people he actually did. The son responds to the father asking for the ending, saying that he swam as a "huge fish" by the river where all the characters in the story welcomed him. Afterward, the son encounters with actual people in his father’s adventure story at his father's funeral, and in the epilogue, the main character also shows his son becoming a father who tells his son a story mixed with a brag.
The interesting and touching plot is the reason for this movie being loved by many people, as well as the interpretation and development of the hidden meanings and elements in the movie. Among them, the adventure story of Edward, the father, consists of a fantasy story based on mythology as much as he created it. In the play, Edward puts a book by the mythologist George Campbell next to his bed and reads it. Edward created his own story by referring to the mythology in this book. In particular, in the scene where Edward visits the Ghost Village, the villagers strangely walk barefoot with their shoes hanging on the clothesline. Edward, who wanted to leave the village in a hurry at first, gradually assimilates into the village from the moment his shoes were stolen to the time he left the village, and loses the reason for his adventure. Fortunately, Edward finds a fish swimming in the shape of a woman in the lake, recalls the free adventure he was pursuing, and leaves the village barefoot without shoes. Here, shoes mean one's ego and identity, as shown in various myths. The reason why all the residents of the ghost village were barefoot also meant that they lost their egos and identities because they were really villages of the dead.
Unlike the father who leaves the village barefoot and pursues adventure, his son is described as a person who only accept facts and thinks that's all. However, hearing the true story of the day he was born from the doctor, Bennet, and found that his father, who could not be around, expressed regret and sorry in exaggerated stories. And Bennet added, "It's not funny, is it? I would have chosen the more fantastic one if I had had to choose between stories decorated with fish and rings or just the truth," reveals director Tim Burton's answer as to why the genre of the film is a fantasy. My father remains immortal as a story, so the movie ends as he becomes a mythical figure.
After watching the movie, you can interpret the meaning of the title, Big Fish, in various ways. According to a famous line in the film, it is said that fish in small fish tanks will grow only as much as small fish tanks, and fish in large fish tanks will grow more, and fish living in large rivers are not easily caught. In other words, it is expressed as a big theme that the more experiences you have in a larger environment, the more you will be able to grow. In addition, it means the process of matching with the son, who is likened to a big catfish, through the last scene of his departure as a "big fish" and a "big fish" metaphor of his inflated story. In this way, Big Fish, a movie that shows the gap between truth and fantasy, suggests emotion through the process of his son understanding his father's inner thoughts. Rather than interpreting this movie, which is like a warm fairy tale for adults, as an esoteric fantasy, I hope I can realize the meaning of the story one by one and understand the director's original worldview. < Copyright © The Gachon Herald All rights reserved >