Plugged In exists to shine a light on the world of popular entertainment while giving you and your family the essential tools you need to understand, navigate and impact the culture in which we live. Through reviews, articles and discussions, we want to spark intellectual thought, spiritual growth and a desire to follow the command of Colossians 2:8: "See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ."


Family uses Plugged In as a ‘significant compass’

"I am at a loss for words to adequately express how much it means to my husband and me to know that there is an organization like Focus that is rooting for us. Just today I was reading Psalm 37 and thinking about how your ministry provides ways to 'dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.' We have two teenagers and an 8-year-old in our household...Plugged In has become a significant compass for our family. All three of our kids are dedicated to their walk with Christ but they still encounter challenges. Thanks for all of your research and persistence in helping us navigate through stormy waters."

Plugged In helps college student stand-up for his belief

"Thanks for the great job you do in posting movie and television reviews online. I’m a college freshman and I recently had a confrontational disagreement with my English professor regarding an R-rated film. It is her favorite movie and she wanted to show it in class. I went to your Web site to research the film’s content. Although I had not seen the movie myself, I was able to make an educated argument against it based on the concerns you outlined. The prof said that she was impressed by my stand and decided to poll the whole class and give us a choice. We overwhelmingly voted to watch a G-rated movie instead! I’ve learned that I can trust your site and I will be using it a lot in the future.”

Plugged In brings ‘Sanity and Order’ to Non-believer

“Even though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I find your Plugged In Web site useful and thought-provoking. No one reviews movies like you do. Instead of being judgmental, you put entertainment ‘on trial.’ After presenting the evidence, you allow the jury of your readers to decide for themselves what they should do. In my opinion, you bring sanity and order to the wild world of modern day entertainment. Keep up the good work!”

Mom thinks Plugged In is the ‘BEST Christian media review site’

"Our family doesn't go to the movies until we go online and check out your assessment of a given film. I think this is the BEST Christian media review website that I've found, and I recommend it to my family and friends. Keep up the good work!"


Our hope is that whether you're a parent, youth leader or teen, the information and tools at Plugged In will help you and your family make appropriate media decisions. We are privileged to do the work we do, and are continually thankful for the generosity and support from you, our loyal readers, listeners and friends.


    No Rating Available

Watch This Review

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Movie Review

In this whopper of a tall tail, fish become human and humans become fish ... and a man learns to love his father in a way he's never been able to before.

Edward Bloom loves telling stories. And he's good at it, too. Acquaintances hang on his every word. Friends laugh uproariously. Family members smile knowingly. But Ed's son, William (now 30 years old), isn't amused. He hasn't been for years. He's sick of fibs and exaggerations. He's tired of hearing lies. He wants to know the truth about his dad's life. So when he gets word that Ed is dying, he flies home with his wife to tend to his family's affairs—and try to get to the bottom of things.

What follows is an fantastical visual romp through the imagination of an old man remembering his life exactly how he would like to remember it. A magical town. A colorful circus. A gentle giant. And beautiful conjoined twins! Is any of it real? Does it really matter if it isn't?


Positive Elements

Commitment to marriage gets huge props in this fish pond. Once Ed knows he's in love (hey, you'd know it too if time stood still the first time you laid eyes on your future spouse), he gives his heart fully and completely to his one and only. He works for three years just to learn her name—remember Jacob's deal with Laban in Genesis 29?—then woos her and weds her. And, contrary to normal Hollywood conventions, their romance doesn't end at the altar. Ed remains a one-woman man the rest of his days, resisting temptations to stray at every turn. "I'm in love with my wife," he tells one interested woman. "From the day I met her to the day I die, she's the only one."

Also scoring big points is Big Fish's tender treatment of the strained relationship between a man and his dad. "There are many similarities between my father and Edward Bloom," says novelist Daniel Wallace, whose book, Big Fish, A Story of Mythic Proportions, served as the inspiration point for the movie. "Like Edward, my father was an extremely charismatic man who sometimes used his charisma to keep people at a distance. It would appear as though he was being intimate with you when he was really just being charming." Many details related to their differences are never resolved as they rarely are in real life, but there's an invisible undertow of love and respect here that draws the two together before it's too late. They begin the movie alienated and silent ("The truth is," William says, "I didn't see anything of myself in my father, and I don't think he saw anything of himself in me, either"). But unspoken forgiveness and empathy are the trophies they share before Ed passes on.

Elsewhere, Ed shows kindness to an outcast giant, teaching him that appearances matter little when one possesses a generous heart. He shows restraint when he's abused by a hateful peer, and (within the context of the tall tales) he keeps his word even when it causes him pain.

Spiritual Content

A church congregation sings "Amazing Grace." Looking into the eye of a "witch" reveals to Ed and some of his friends the manner in which they will die. Ed recalls that what he learned in Sunday School was that the more difficult one's undertaking, the more rewarding its end. And he makes a comment about not ever talking about religion because "you never know who you'll offend."

Sexual Content

Twice, a fish appears to Ed as a naked woman (the camera focuses on her bare back and buttocks, and a brief side view is seen). A carnival barker, who is apparently some form of werewolf, is seen naked from the rear after he changes back into a man. A college boy thumbs through an issue of Playboy while perched on a toilet (only the cover is seen). Ed jokes about his mother "banging" the milkman. Conjoined twins croon, "I need twice the man/Because, baby, I've got twice the love to give."

Violent Content

Images in the witch's eye include a man dying after falling off a ladder, and another collapsing while on the toilet. The werewolf attacks Ed, as does a whirling carnival ride. He's blown down by the giant's voice, shot by a clown, chased by a swarm of bees and punched out by a jealous foe. (The beating he takes provides a positive lesson, though, since Ed refuses to fight back, having promised he won't.)

While serving in the military, Ed parachutes into enemy territory and fights with several soldiers, knocking them all out with his fists and the butt of his gun. While doing time as a traveling salesman, he accidentally becomes part of a bank robbery, wielding a gun and watching helplessly as his "partner" shoots a few holes in the ceiling.

The giant rolls a car over onto its side. Hospital orderlies crash into a supply cart. And Ed grapples with a huge fish.

Crude or Profane Language

Three s-words (two are used by children; one is spelled out). Beyond that, only a half-dozen milder profanities appear.

Drug and Alcohol Content

Minor characters smoke. (I saw more cigarettes outside the theater than onscreen.) People toast with Champagne.

Other Negative Elements

Comedically it works, but it's best not to contemplate the realities of a newborn baby shooting out of his mother and sliding down the hospital corridor, as happens in one of Ed's fables. When first confronting the giant, Ed casually informs him that he has been sent as a human sacrifice by the townsfolk. And while working with the circus, he's nearly hit by fresh elephant dung.


"Stories are our dreams, really," says star Ewan McGregor. "That's why we tell stores. They're kind of what makes us interesting and connects us with one another from generation to generation. Without them all we'd be left with is politics and supermarkets. And what kind of a world would that be?"

Edward Bloom is Forrest Gump without his crutches. He unwittingly dominates hometown sporting events, haplessly travels around the world, gleefully parachutes over Korea during the war and loses his heart to the prettiest girl in three counties. But Big Fish isn't about overcoming obstacles in the way Gump was. It's about coming to terms with a life that sometimes feels dull. It's about family bonds. Losses. Secrets that shouldn't be so secret. And the great value real has.

Fanciful, funny and sweet on marriage and family, this Fish only has a few sharp bones to note, even after it's been filleted and dissected: brief (rear) nudity, some inappropriate jokes, three-too-many s-words and scattered violence.

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

Christian Beliefs

Other Belief Systems

Authority Roles



Discussion Topics

Additional Comments/Notes

Episode Reviews




Readability Age Range



Ewan McGregor as Ed Bloom (young); Albert Finney as Ed Bloom (senior); Billy Crudup as William Bloom; Jessica Lange as Sandra Bloom (senior); Alison Lohman as Sandra Bloom (young); Helena Bonham Carter as Jenny (young and senior) and The Witch; Robert Guillaume as Dr. Bennett (senior); Marion Cotillard as Josephine; Matthew McGrory as Karl the Giant; Danny DeVito as Amos


Columbia Pictures



Record Label



In Theaters

On Video

Year Published



Steven Isaac

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

Get weekly e-news, Culture Clips & more!