“My life was make believe…but in it…you were real”
From the movie Big Fish
I just finished watching Big Fish. It was a fantastic movie and given my current health situation it offered some insights into answering the inevitable questions about my past and the things I have done…especially from my children.
In general terms, the movie follows a young man through his life as he tries to reconcile his memories of his father (who is on his deathbed) in an effort to find out who he really is…he always saw his father as an irresponsible liar and storyteller and now he comes to understand the root of his dad's exaggerations and the depths of the reality of said stories.
The book is written as a chronological series of tall tales. Despite the novel's first-person narration, there is virtually no present tense within the movie other then the angst of a son trying to find out who his father really is. The various stories are a retelling of tales of the father’s life and range in scope from finding his wife at the circus, a near death experience battling a wolf and helping a gentle giant understand his role in life.
Somebody once said that Hollywood is a microcosm of our lives and that no matter the movie we can always find some element of truth as it pertains to life we led…for 125 minutes today I watched a portion some of my life unfold on the screen in front of me…and found new meaning in making sure my sons are not left with questions…and that they know my life had meaning and purpose.
The most poignant aspect of Big Fish was the funeral and the cast of characters in attendance.
The son was still skeptical of his Dad right up to the point when the fathers friends started arriving to pay their final respects...including the gentle giant; the man who turned into the wolf and the friend who robbed banks…it was a turning point for the son …and his family…all the stories came full circle…and the remaining questions were ultimately answered at this gathering.
For me this movie afforded the opportunity to not only look back on my own life and how it will be perceived but also how to assist in addressing Jake and Ian’s questions on what has happened.
If you have a moment...this movie is well worth your time to rent and view…I hope to sit and watch it with the boys…or at least talk about it with them after they watch it…either way…it provided several lighthearted moments as well as some serious moments of intense introspection today...all at a time when I needed it most.