The Daily Stream: Big Fish Is A Beautiful Story About The Beauty Of Stories

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they've been watching, why it's worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)

The Movie: "Big Fish"

Where You Can Stream It: Netflix

The Pitch: Did a movie ever hit you so hard that someone just mentioning it makes you tear up? I don't mean to say that "Big Fish" is a sad film. There is sadness in it, but truly what makes me cry is the joy it brings me. This is magical storytelling at its best, and one of understanding. It's a story of how big your life feels to you, and trying to express that in a way that allows other people to feel it, too. It's a story of a father and son, of living even a small life as big as possible, and finding happiness and adventure wherever you go. 

If you haven't watched yet — and I envy you a first viewing — here is the story. Will Bloom (Billy Crudup) has a father who likes to tell tall tales. I'm talking about stories like being part of a circus, catching a catfish with his wedding ring, having a witch predict his death for him, playing fetch with a werewolf, that sort of thing. Only he might be telling the truth, in a different way. Having a father like this can be difficult, never knowing what's real and what's fake. When his father Edward (Albert Finney) is dying, however, Will goes back to see him and hears the stories. Ewan McGregor plays a young Edward, and we see the tales play out, until we find out the truth. 

Why it's essential viewing

Never have I seen a film that made me appreciate the stories my parents tell more than this film. (Don't get me wrong. I like their stories. As far as I know, my dad has never played fetch with a werewolf though.) It's a beautiful tale of the relationship between a father and a son, and what it's like to realize that your parents are humans. It's a beautifully fantastical tale, and director Tim Burton was made to direct this. 

"Big Fish" is charming, and funny, and I am telling you right now to get a box of tissues (make that two boxes), because the ending will make you cry the happiest of tears. I thought that, having sobbed my way through it once made me immune for the second viewing and I was wrong. I was I-really-should-invest-in-waterproof-mascara wrong. The performances from Finney, McGregor, Crudup, Jessica Lange, Helena Bonham Carter, Alison Lohman, the late Robert Guillaume, Marion Cotillard, Steve Buscemi, and Danny DeVito will leave you breathless. 

Without giving anything away, this movie is a story about stories, how our own mythology has the power to make us bigger than we are, how we tell ourselves and others the versions of our lives the way we remember them, and how that makes us more than we were before, true or not. 

There is so much I want to say about the ending and redemption and understanding, but it gives away too much. Just know that you're going to want to call your parents/family member/friends and maybe buy them a storytelling kit so you have a record of their lives. Heavy as that sounds, it's joyous, and heartening, and so very, deeply lovely. I hope you love it as much as I do. 

Seriously, though: waterproof mascara.