Big Fish is a movie filled with life lessons and metaphors. It is directed by Tim Burton and stars Ewan Mcgregor. The movie is based on the novel by Daniel Wallace, of the same title.
The movie is set in the present day (2003) where you find Edward Bloom and his estranged son, Will Bloom, who have not been in talking terms for 3 years. This is due to Will getting tired of his father’s tall tales.
However, if one were to look beyond the literal part of Edward’s stories there are many real life adventures that we can find.
If you have not seen the movie, I must warn you, that this article contain spoilers.
It is also easier for you to engage with this article if you have seen the movie.
- Go To New Places To Grow.
It is only at new horizons will we grow in life.
In the movie, we find Edward Bloom leaving his hometown because it was too small for him, as his ambition kept growing.
If a person remains at a place where everybody else is smaller, he will think he is the biggest he can be for the rest of his life.
When Edward met a giant by the name of Karl, the giant said he was just too big and is hungry all the time. Edward countered this thought by saying
“Has it ever occurred to you that maybe you’re not too big? That maybe this place is just too small?”
If we ever find ourselves surrounded by people who think our dreams are too big, it’s a good indicator that it is time to go.
Edward described a big fish by saying
“Kept in a small bowl, they will remain small. With more space, the fish can double, triple or quadruple its size.”
2. Know Where You Are Going In Life
In life, the most important thing to know, is where you are going.
Edward’s way of knowing where he was heading in life was to ‘know’ how he was going to die.
“I was thinking about death and all. About seeing how you’re gonna die. I mean, on one hand, if dying was all you thought about, it could kind of screw you up. But it could kind of help you, couldn’t it? Because you’d know that everything else you can survive.” –Edward to the Witch-
Of course there is no way anybody can truly know or decide how they are going to die, but if we decide on the state we want to be in, when we die, it will definitely have a lasting effect on how we live our lives.
For example, we will know that no matter the obstacle, that it is only a small bump on the road.
We can see in more than one scene, Edward showing courage because he knew that the road is a long road.
If we decide that all righteous roads will lead us back to God, and he is the only thing we should fear, why be scared of anything that the world has to throw at us?
3. Change The Way You See Things And The Things You See, Will Change
Everything is a matter of perspective.
When Edward described his wife, Sandra in his stories, it was as if she was the most beautiful person on the planet and that nobody else could match up to her.
But if you see her in the present day, she seem like any plain Jane you would meet at any family gathering, at least on the surface.
It was Edward’s decision to see her for her few amazing qualities that actually made her special in his stories. The only reason she was the one for him, is because he made that decision.
Time may not have literally stop in the scene below, but in Edward’s mind, it certainly did.
4. Treat Every Person With Kindness
Edward Bloom met a Werewolf, a Giant, a Poet, a Robber, and a Witch in his life time.
He treated each and every one of them with kindness to the best of his ability.
You will never know how one small good thing we do to others can possibly change the person.
One character Edward Bloom met in his travels was a “Werewolf”/Circus Ringmaster, by the name of Amos Calloway that almost ate him up.
There are a few ways to look at this character, but I like to think of Amos Calloway as a conman, who over the period of 3 years, had not been paying his part of the bargain to Edward in their agreement.
The deal was that Amos would tell Edward all about Sandra while working for Amos, so that Edward could find a way to propose to her.
Amos only gave scarce useless information like “She likes music”.
One night Edward went up to face Amos, because he could wait no longer and Amos transformed into a Werewolf on that night, and Edward managed to calm him down by playing fetch with the wolf.
We see that when the wolf transformed again into Amos, he was kind and decided to tell Edward everything he needed to know about Sandra.
“It was that night I discovered that most things you consider evil or wicked are simply lonely, and lacking in social niceties.” –Edward Bloom-
There are days we fight things that we perceive as evil or wicked and there is no shame in having to fight, but at times, people just need us to treat them with a little kindness for them to soften their heart.
5. Our Life Story Is Supposed To Be Unbelievable
Our life story is supposed to sound unbelievable by the end of it, if we do it right. That is the beauty of life.
Although some parts of the story was exaggerated, it was a beautiful life that Edward Bloom led.
During his funeral, you can see all the exaggerated characters that Edward’s son had heard about his whole life, making an appearance to say their farewells to Edward.
We all had glimpses on unbelievable moments in our lives and if we keep pursuing them, we will end up with an incredible life story.
You want to be able to look back and think, wow did I really do all of those things?
What are other lessons or metaphors you enjoy from the movie? Please share your thoughts with me on the comments below.