(out of 5)
Billy Crudup goes three years without speaking to his boastful, tall tale-telling father (Albert Finney) before returning to him when he learns that he is terminally ill with cancer. Crudup reflects on all the ridiculously mythical tales that his father has told him over the years, about adventures in magical circuses, elaborate war adventures and even the magically romantic way he met Crudup’s mother (Jessica Lange), deciding that before his father passes away he would like to get to know the truth behind the legends. Spending time with him in his last days, however, the young man comes to realize that not-too-deep inside all the fantasies was where the entire truth always lay from the beginning. John August’s screenplay jumps around the various time periods and story tangents without ever being confusing, instead putting across the style of a man who has spent his life telling deliciously contradictory and intertwining tales. It’s quite obvious that the film has been adapted from a much larger and more detailed novel as the script tends to seem to be in too much of a rush to keep moving along, the only drawback to this very enjoyable exercise in Southern-style storytelling. Ewan McGregor is terrific as Finney’s younger self, while Alison Lohman plays the younger Lange.
Directed by Tim Burton
Cinematography by Philippe Rousselot
Music by Danny Elfman
Production Design by Dennis Gassner
Costume Design by Colleen Atwood
Film Editing by Chris Lebenzon