Big Fish Review

“… I am thankful that it was something I was able to experience.”

I haven’t been well for quite some time. If I was a betting man I would put all of my money on depression, but I’m not really in the business of self-diagnosing. One of my main symptoms is lack of emotion. Well that’s not necessarily the case becasue I have emotions, they are just constantly fleeting. If I’m happy it only lasts for a few seconds before I have a bad thought. If I’m sad I’m not there long enough to actually feel any release. I spend most of my time in a “happy medium” of emotion. I’m numb. Trying to rectify the situation tonight I watched Big Fish.

Now for this thought process to make sense to you, I’m going to have to give you some context first. A by-product of my emotionless existence is my lack of tears. I don’t cry. When I tell people that I’m always met with one of two responses: “That can’t be true” and “Not even when you were a baby?”. Of course I cried when I was a baby. I’m not saying I’ve never cried, just that I don’t cry now. And it’s not something I can explain. Had I not experienced it first-hand I would assume that everyone cries as well. And my case is particularly strange because I used to cry a lot when I was a kid. Like an extreme amount. I would cry at anything; you couldn’t stop me. Sad song on the radio? Cry. Watch a sad movie? Cry? Sad episode of a cartoon? Cry. Remember that same sad movie? Cry. Overhear a sad story? Cry. Tears were my specialty. And then one day they stopped.

I don’t remember the day that I stopped crying, but I do know there had to be a last time. Now there have been a few instances to break my streak, and one of the last ones I remember is watching Big Fish. I remember the day clearly: I was sitting at home going through Netflix when I stumbled across Big Fish. I remembered all of the favourable things I had heard about the movie and decided to give it a watch. I then remember sitting alone in my room, sobbing uncontrollably hoping that my mom wouldn’t choose that moment to knock on my door. I’m not sure what it was about the movie that got me, but at the time I equated any and all emotional attachment to my daddy issues. Well I couldn’t tell you when I last watched Big Fish, but I can tell you that my current tear-less streak is two and a half years. Despite an uncountable number of things in my life making me sad, I have gone two and a half years without a tear. That is until today.

Watching Big Fish again was interesting becasue I didn’t encounter any of the same gripes with the movie that I had last time. I remember thinking that the story was slow almost all the way through, and the only redeeming factor of the film as that it made me cry at the end; but this time around I couldn’t relate to that sentiment. I thought to myself if this experiment didn’t work, if not even Big Fish could crack my impenetrable tear ducts, then at the very least I’d get a good movie out of it. But it worked. As soon as the penultimate scene rolled around I started to cry, as if it was planned. In a weird way maybe it was planned. Maybe I cried because I’ve wanted so badly to cry and just needed a trigger. Or maybe the movie is just that impactful to me in particular. Either way it worked.

Now I’m not going to sit here and praise Big Fish even though I could. God knows I have half a page of notes talking about every way this movie is great, but none of that matters. Reviews, regardless of which way you slice them, are purely subjective. There is not one person in this world who will react to a work of art the exact same way that I do. The best I can do is try and hide the bias or explain my subjectivity in an objective manner; but not today.

As I sit here with tears still in my eyes, I want to thank Big Fish. Not for being a good movie, but for making me feel something. It’s been so long since I’ve been able to release these motions that have been trapped inside of me like splinters under the skin, but Big Fish helped me take a step in the right direction. I’m not delusional enough to think that this experience will “fix me”, as a matter of fact I think I’m beyond repair, but I am thankful that it was something I was able to experience.

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