Most Helpful First | Newest First
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A well done coming-of-age movie,
This review is from: Fish Tank (The Criterion Collection) (Blu-ray) (Blu-ray)Fish tank is a movie about the coming-of-age of 15 year-old Mia (Kate Jarvis). It focuses on her relationship with her mother Joanne, her younger sister Tyler, a boy her age Billy, and most importantly, her mother's boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender).
Mia is all toughness - in her dress, her talk, her manner, her dancing - not just to disguise the turbulence and teenage angst raging inside her, but also to separate and distance herself from the image of her mother, who is almost overly feminine. She is trying to find a way out, to escape from her loneliness, her insensitive mother, her almost hopeless existence. The beginning of the movie sees her at the end of a close friendship with someone, leaving her particularly alone and looking for validation and friendship. So when the kind and attentive Connor enters her life and compliments her dancing, (which is incredibly important to her - it is her release, and she allows herself to be vulnerable only when she is dancing, and does it alone most of the time, only feeling safe enough to dance in front of Connor), she is drawn to him from the start. It is apparent that the lack of a father figure in her life also led to this misguided attraction, which becomes clearer towards the end of the movie.
Mia's mother Joanne is a young single mother, bitter and resentful at being one, and willfully shirks the responsibility; her two girls live almost orphaned, unparented lives. She looks like she has given up and the only time she tries is when she is with Connor, acting the part of girlfriend and mother around him. Joanne has a particularly difficult relationship with Mia probably because the age difference between them is not large, and with her sensing Connor's attention to Mia, Joanne doesn't see Mia as a daughter, but rather, as competition, and she puts Mia down in front of Connor every chance she gets, and even tries to send her away to a special boarding school.
Connor is deeply flawed himself and even though he does appear to be genuinely caring, his weakness for women muddies his judgment in many instances throughout the movie.
Then there is the symbolic white horse that Mia sees chained up, and she keeps trying to free it, despite the danger to herself.
The movie is deeply nuanced - you could watch it many times over, and see new things every time. The acting is sublime - Kate Jarvis and Michael Fassbender give stand-out performances. And the directing is particularly brilliant - the movie is shot entirely from Mia's point of view and it almost makes you feel like you're walking in her shoes in every scene.
You will be deeply affected by the movie, regardless of how you feel about it. For this reason alone, I highly recommend it.
4.0 out of 5 stars Another strong film by Andrea Arnold,
This review is from: Fish Tank (The Criterion Collection) (DVD)While I didn't respond quite as strongly to this as to Ms. Arnold's amazing first feature `Red Road',
this is still very strong film making. Unlike `Red Road', the subject has been covered before - a damaged,
angry neglected teenager, acting out against the world, getting in over her head sexually, behaving in ways that
even she would be hard pressed to explain. But if the general terrain is a familiar, the sense of rage and
power is one we rarely see given to a young female character, and - for the most part - there's a sense of raw
honesty and truth that eludes the vast majority of films about teens.
Mild spoilers ahead.
For every moment that the film flirts with cliché (the good boyfriend/bad boyfriend choice - more subtle than
usual here, but still a little too neat), there are others that are original, complex and unique. I just wish the
ending didn't feel like a forced hopeful note, that a few of the symbols along the way (e.g. the White Horse)
weren't so on the nose, and that Katie Jarvis, marvelous most of the time in the lead, but a non-pro, had a
couple more colors and nuances in her performance. But none of those drawbacks, while substantive, keep
this from being an important film by an important young filmmaker.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Fish Tank (DVD - 2010)
CDN$ 34.95 CDN$ 21.99