« Leap Year | Main | 44 INCH CHEST »

January 10, 2010


FishTankIn her second film Andrea Arnold displays a deep engagement with her story of a suburban 15-year-old British girl seduced by her mother's lover. Tough-girl Mia (well played by Katie Jarvis) lives in an Essex housing project with her indiscriminate mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing) and younger sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths).

Mia never wears anything other than sweats and a hoody. She hip-hop dances alone in an empty apartment living room with a balcony overlooking the industrial wasteland around her. Mia uses dance to ground her identity even though her rapidly changing body is clumsier than she imagines. Trouble arrives in the form of her mom's seemingly innocuous boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender). Connor sizes up Mia with the accuracy of a sharpshooter. Liberation, romance, coming-of-age, and familial cause-and-effect are all themes at play. As a filmmaker Arnold strips away artifice by allowing her actors' performances to take center stage.


There is a verité quality in the way cinematographer Robbie Ryan frames compositions at unconventionally impromptu angles using natural light. Uncommonly naturalistic performances by the ensemble cast add to this film's kinship to works from British neorealist directors Mike Leigh and Ken Loach. As an example of modern British social satire, "Fish Tank" is a stellar addition.

Unrated. 122 mins. (A-) (Four Stars - out-of-five/no-halves)


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Featured Video

SMART NEW MEDIA® Custom Videos



Throwback Thursday

Podcast Series