Sunday, June 7, 2009

Big Fish

I love Big Fish. Almost every time I watch it, I notice something new about it. Last time I watched it (not counting tonight) was back in Orlando with friend Gary. It was then that I think I understood the character of Edward Bloom better than ever.

Edward Bloom's elaborate mythology and colorful re-narration of his entire life is in no way whatsoever to be understood as an attempt to dress up an otherwise unhappy and dissatisfying lot. Nope. If you think that then you haven't watched it 15+ times yet, and if you've got a couple hours to kill tonight I'll tell you what you should do with that time.

And you have to see this, because this is it, this is what's going on. To get it all, you have to pay attention to one of the last scenes, when Edward's son, Will, is speaking with Jenny the Witch about an alleged affair between her and his father:
You see to him, there's only two women: your mother and everyone else.
One day I realized I was in love with a man who could never love me back - I was living in a fairy tale. I wanted to be as important as you were to him. That was make believe. And his other life, you, you were real.
Edward Bloom's entire life is written in fantasy because the only thing that was real to him was his wife and his son. The bizarre and unlikely details that fill every histoire is not a testimony to an implicit lack of interest or dullness. Rather, the "story" of his life is, instead, a testimony to the relative insignificance of every other thing outside of the those he deeply loved.