What’s it about?
This film is primarily about the relationship between a father and his son whose relationship is strained. William (the son) visits his dying father and is frustrated because he feels that his father has told him fictional or exaggerated accounts of the past all his life, and soon he will not have time to hear the truth from his father. The film takes you on the story of Edward Bloom (the father) and all the adventures he has been on through his life, as William begins to understand the man and his anecdotes.
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Helena Bonham Carter, Danny DeVito, Jessica Lange, Albert Finney, (there is such a good cast! I can’t name them all but so so good!)
Director: Tim Burton
Writer: John August
Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace.
See the trailer here
Is it on Netflix? Yes!
From here on there will be spoilers as I explore the meanings of the film and what I personally liked/disliked about it. But I advise that if you haven’t already seen it, see it before you read this because the ending is definitely my favourite bit, hope it is yours too! And then come back, please 🙂 Okay, moving on!
What I thought…
I LOVE this film. Absolutely love it. For one, I love Ewan McGregor so I’m biased but also its just such a charming film! It almost takes me back to when I was read bedtime stories, or when life was full of that magical imagination which I link so closely with childhood, it just has something comforting and innocent about it. Its not a children’s film obviously, but it is as innocent as a child’s mind that you could easily watch this with your child.
To start I really like the way that the relationship between father and son, Edward and William, is introduced from the close up shot gliding along the young boys listening to Edward Blooms story of catching the fish, completely fascinated by it to little William on the end bored as he knows it so completely. Then William getting ready for prom and Edward is telling his date the same story and William saying ‘make him stop’ shows that he is starting to lose respect for his father because he always tells that story. And finally we see Edward telling the ending of that story at Williams wedding during his speech and William walks out. The fact that he is telling the end of the story at the wedding and how after that William doesn’t talk to him for 3 years, to me this indicates that Burton wanted to suggest that at that point, it was the final straw for William.
I also think its really lovely how William is narrating the story of his father, although there are pockets within the film where Edward himself is narrating but the film starts with William saying ‘In telling the story of my fathers life, it is impossible to separate fact from fiction, the man from myth’ and I think that truly sums up this film and the beauty of Edward is that you can’t separate them, but why would you want to? His stories are worth listening to.
I absolutely love the randomness of this film; from one of the opening sequences of Edward wrestling with a fish, to him being born and literally sliding down the hospital corridor, to the fact that there are Siamese twins who help him get back to america . With this film you just kind of have to go along with whatever quirky thing happens and just be like ‘oh okay’ and the fact that it goes between possible fictionalized story to present reality (but not in a confusing way, just a ‘oh okay’ way). I just love it. I’m not entirely sure why but I do.
Also with this film, I feel like you can’t help but love Edward Bloom, I mean yes he’s a little arrogant and definitely confident, but he’s also romantic and caring and devoted to people; he’s well liked by everyone he meets (except maybe Don Price who kicks the bejeezus out of him) but like with the people in Spectre (the weird little town) adored him and everyone from his home town loved him (except Don Price). That has to say something…
So you know when he’s going through Spectre the first time? I literally think he was on drugs.. becausssse when you see shoes thrown over a wire it often means there is a drug dealer near by (I think, I’m not an expert on street/gang signs 😛 ) and then there’s the whole thing where the people are acting really strange, the use of fireflies when he’s talking to the poet, Norther Winslow, is similar to the effects used in Moulin Rouge when they all get absolutely high or drunk (I can’t remember, but the bit where Kylie Minogue is a fairy on a bottle)… Anyway, and there’s the bit with the lady in the water and he thinks its a snake that’s about to bite her but really its just a stick. I dunno.. just connecting the dots here people!
I find the whole story about how he fell in love with Sandra Templeton at the circus completely adorable and romantic and just lovely to watch really… Although now-a-days you’d be a classed as a complete stalker and weirdo if you did that to somebody… just turning up to their house like ‘I’m going to marry you, I love you’. But it’s the kind of thing that you just love to watch in a film isn’t it? LOVE IT.
But what I really love, and my absolute favourite part of the film, is the ending. It just gets me every time. It really does. When Edward asks William how he goes and William is at first like, ‘you never told me that story’, and then he realizes what his dad is saying, and wants him to imagine a story. And so he does and you can tell he’s really getting into it, I like to think that at that point William begins to understand why his dad might exaggerate his stories or fictionalize them completely, it’s a lot better than the reality. At this point you really start to believe that all the Edward Bloom stories really are just that, fictional stories. And then, THEN, there’s the funeral and all the characters from his stories, Carl, Amos Calloway, Norther Winslow, the Siamese twins, they all come to his funeral and William begins to realize that his father wasn’t completely making up his past and that these people really did exist. And then you see how many people come to his funeral and you see them sharing stories about him and its a happy kind of sad. Its just really touching, and you start to think, would that many people come to mine? and it just makes you that bit more conscious of how much you could impact someones life.
I love the parting idea that Edward Bloom’s stories have been told so many times he becomes them, and the stories live on after him making him immortal.
5/5 for this movie. One of my all time faves!
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