'Big Fish' Critic Reviews

95%
MovieWeb:   5 reviews
77%
Rotten Tomatoes:   212 reviews
  • Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    67
    A gently overstuffed cinematic pinata, crammed with tall tales -- with giants and circuses and fairy-tale woods, plus a huge squirmy catfish, all served up with a literal matter-of-fact fancy that is very pleasing.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • A.O. Scott New York Times (Top Critic)
    40
    The most curious thing about this magical-realist fable ... is how thin and soft it is, how unpersuasive and ultimately forgettable even its most strenuous inventions turn out to be.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Mike Clark USA Today (Top Critic)
    88
    Big Fish takes a while to get its bearings, but it gets better and better.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Stephen Hunter Washington Post (Top Critic)
    Somewhat like Forrest Gump on a high colonic.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Desson Thomson Washington Post (Top Critic)
    A disappointingly dull thud of a fantasy.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Wesley Morris Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    63
    The picture's images linger.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • J. Hoberman Village Voice (Top Critic)
    The ideas keep percolating, but in the absence of any particular tension, the movie has its longueurs.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Jack Mathews New York Daily News (Top Critic)
    63
    The movie has a great deal of charm and several good performances, but it is the son's judgmental doggedness that sets the story in motion and leads to its mawkish conclusion. It's a hurdle I couldn't get over.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Eric Harrison Houston Chronicle (Top Critic)
    84
    An enchanting tale from Tim Burton that weaves together reality and myth so touchingly it hardly matters which is which.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Philip Wuntch Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    67
    Offers its audience a long and winding road, with refreshing pauses. And it proves that mega-budgets have not spoiled Tim Burton's vision.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Lisa Kennedy Denver Post (Top Critic)
    88
    A bountiful pleasure.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Peter Rainer New York Magazine (Top Critic)
    Overall, the film feels like it issues from a place Burton doesn't inhabit.
    Full Review » 10 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    63
    There is no denying that Will has a point: The old man is a blowhard. There is a point at which his stories stop working as entertainment and segue into sadism.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Michael Wilmington Chicago Tribune (Top Critic)
    88
    Big Fish is so strange and so literary that audiences seeking conventional fare may get impatient with it. But it always takes effort to catch the big ones. This one is worth it.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Jonathan Rosenbaum Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    50
    Burton shows the rivalry between father and son but not the rancor, which seems to fit with the film's calm lyricism. But the father-son conflict is meant as the dramatic crux, and a forceful actor would have given it some much-needed bite.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    For me, a Will who wishes she were an Edward, the movie inspired by the Daniel Wallace novel is a minor classic.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    88
    Burton, who has clung to the trappings of precocious genius well into his 40s, demonstrates a new emotional maturity.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    75
    Funny, touching, smart, whimsical, dazzling and, at times, downright magical.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Bill Muller Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    90
    A whopper of a movie, told by the master of the modern-day fairy tale, Tim Burton.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Rex Reed New York Observer (Top Critic)
    A load of tripe that no attempt on my part could make sound half as pretentious and conceited as it really is.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Andrew Sarris New York Observer (Top Critic)
    Not only is Mr. Burton at the top of his form in endowing his tallest stories and wildest magical conceits with emotional conviction, but he is aided by a superb acting ensemble that never loses its footing in the treacherous swamps of make-believe.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Todd McCarthy Variety (Top Critic)
    The imaginatively illustrated but precariously precious film offers up a string of minor pleasures but never becomes more than moderately amusing or involving.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Megan Lehmann New York Post (Top Critic)
    88
    There are quirks aplenty in Big Fish, but spirited performances from a talented cast, led by a standout Finney as the slippery-fish raconteur, help domesticate the wall-to-wall weirdness.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    60
    Herniated whimsy -- straining, as labored as those poor Brits who stuff their mouths with grits and try to talk like Southerners.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
  • Peter Howell Toronto Star (Top Critic)
    60
    A change-up delivery from a director seeking relief from his artful image, the movie wants to catch our ears rather than our eyes, and it does so without completely reeling us in.
    Full Review » 11 years ago
AVG. RATING 4.3 GREAT
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