Family Movie Night


By Karyn Bowman


Last week I talked about two different movies associated with Tim Burton. The American director has always had a different style that was interesting but hidden away by the weirdness of his movies.


Say what you will but there are times that his movies are magical and take you to a different place.


One of my favorites is mythical and large in its storytelling. But the story is one that an adult child can relate to when you have a parent who tells larger than life tales.


Poster Image from

Big Fish starring Ewan McGregor as a man who did incredible things –so he says – as a young man but now he is old and dying. His son does not believe a word from the old man. In fact, the son is incredibly angry at his father.


All of his life he has heard these fantastical stories that he could never prove. But as the old man – as played by Albert Finney – is in the hospital for one last time, the son does something he has never done before.


He begins to check the old stories out. He looks for the truth in the incredible.


Billy Crudup plays the son with the right mix of anger and love. Jessica Lange plays the mother who is losing the most extraordinary love of her life. And one of the most amazing pieces in the puzzle is Helena Bonham-Carter as a woman from the past.


I sometimes think Helena does the unbelievably strange parts to avoid being type-cast as the sweet girl next door. How else do you explain Sweeney Todd or  Harry Potter? But here, as she does in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Helena looks erethral at times. She glows with youth and hope, until the end when she reveals the truth. And then her natural beauty is simply there.


Now this movie is best suited for an adult crowd. And not because it is offensive. The movie is geared for adults with its content and the context in which we see it. The story is for adults. There is nothing wrong with that, some movies should be for kids and some should be for adults.


This one with its issues of death and dying, of losing a parent just as you, the adult child, finally get to know them. No teenager wants to deal with those issues. Some adults don’t want to either.


But there is something about watching a young man figure out his father as he is about to become a parent. There is something in watching a man discovering those crazy stories were based on some sort of truth, even the one that involves a final wish.


Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.