Movie Review – Fish Tank (2009)

Director: Andrea Arnold

Stars: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing

A 15 year old’s life changes when her mother brings home a new boyfriend.

I think the main reason people will watch this is because it’s an early role for the now-famous Fassbender, but actually the main performance of Jarvis is what left me amazed. She was in practically every scene and I’m surprised that she hasn’t been cast in more things, because I found her performance captivating.

Mia is an aggressive girl who is subject to neglect from her mother and hostility from her peers. Her life is clearly aimless and lonely, and the only thing that gives her a little bit of freedom is her love of dancing. When Conor comes into her home he treats her with kindness, and even though it’s never said on screen, it’s probably the first time in her life where Mia has been treated in such a manner. This new family unit spend time together and Conor becomes a bigger part of their lives, although Mia grows jealous. There’s a burgeoning attraction between them and just as she feels its blossoming…he disappears.

Even though Mia does some really horrible things, and I mean, there’s one thing in particular that should make her irredeemable, Jarvis managed to keep at least a sliver of sympathy, and I wanted things to work out for her in the end.

The film veers away from melodrama and depicts a gritty, bleak existence where the only escape is forlorn dreams. Character motivations and actions are ripe for discussion, and it’s shot and acted superbly. I definitely recommend this one.

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