Fish Tank (2009)

Last week I raved about a movie that completely just blew my mind.  Seriously, it did.  I didn’t want to reveal the name then but now’s the time: Fish Tank. From the beginning of September when I saw it till now, my mind still wanders back to that movie, about what happened and just the message of it.

Fish tankDirector: Andrea Arnold

Cast: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing, Harry Treadaway, Rebecca Griffiths

Fifteen year old Mia (Katie Jarvis) lives in the housing projects with her relatively young mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing) and her little sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths).  She is also out of school as her mother sets up for her to go to a special school.  She wanders alone a lot especially since her mother seems more interested in keeping her life partying, drinking, smoking, pretty much anything except being the responsible parent she should be.  Mia is okay with improving on her dancing in her own world and just keeping everything to herself and living in her own world but thats until her mother brings home a new boyfriend, Connor (Michael Fassbender).  He encourages her in believing in herself and that is something she’s never really had before.

Fish Tank

Fish Tank is a coming of age story for fifteen year old Mia.  We see the movie a lot through her eyes and how she feels but a lot goes unsaid because she’s not a big talker.  She’s more of the quiet and analytical type of person.  She keeps to herself a lot but she also reacts with aggression when she has to.  Its all her protecting herself.  Her space includes being in a vacant apartment and dancing alone.  Her relationship with her mother isn’t great and her and her sister obviously care for each other but they don’t always express it in the right way.  Mia is an interesting character because her development throughout the movie is amazing to watch.  Its about seeing the bits and pieces of her that she’s protected as we also see her fragility as well as her tough girl side.  She’s complex but at the same time, she’s learning and growing every step of the way.  What makes Mia real is that she will make decisions that don’t make sense to the audience but at the same time, its those moments that drag them in.

fish tank

A lot of Mia’s character changes because of Connor played by Michael Fassbender.  I’ve always knew that Michael Fassbender is a decent actor (through Jane Eyre and X-Men, etc).  I haven’t seen a lot of his movies but he’s never been disappointing to watch, ever. Fish Tank and Connor is something I’ve never seen Michael Fassbender do.  Connor comes out of nowhere and essentially we know nothing of him just as Mia doesn’t either.  She sneaks around to learn about where he works and he does these mysterious things that all come together at the end of the movie as to what its about.  At the same time, although he’s Mia’s mom’s boyfriend, he also shows a lot of interest towards Mia along with her sister.  Connor never ceases to surprise me because for one, I never expected Michael Fassbender to do a sex scene and that was pretty convincing.  At the same time, there is one other scene that acts as a turning point of the story and as crazy as that scene was, I’m guessing its also the one that has me thinking the most.  Now if you’ve seen this movie, you’ll probably know which one I’m talking about, and if you haven’t, I don’t want to spoil it for you.

Say hello to my new crush up there, I’m so impressed with Michael Fassbender that I’m about to prepare for a movie marathon of the movies he has done to date (if I can find a good portion of them). Charming, sexy and so talented, I just love him!

*ahem* Moving along before I get too carried away…

fish tank

The main focus is on Mia and the influence that Connor had on her.  Except everyone plays a part in her growing up.  We have her mother played by Kierston Wareing who fully convinces us of the type of mother she is and maybe a part of her doesn’t want to give up her youth especially when she’s really not that old and she still wants to have fun.  There’s a boy (played by Harry Treadaway) that Mia meets who she seems to gradually let into her life to trust because of a random bad encounter that spiraled into something else.  Her sister is incredibly convincing with the emphasis of just how their lives are not so fortunate especially when even her little sister engages in some bad habits herself and at such a young age.

fish tank connor mia

Fish Tank is outstanding because of its rather simple story with various twists of a coming of age story.  Its thought provoking and complex because its characters are deep and hard to read.  Everyone has something more but its not brought right in our faces all the time. I love this sort of movie because it envelopes growing up, messing up, making rash choices and really opening up to the world and seeing it for what it is or maybe more than what it is.  Its hard to explain how I actually feel about this without sticking in spoilers so I’m going to stop.  When the movie finished, I sat back and thought about what they meant by calling it Fish Tank.

Overall, Fish Tank is a really good coming of age story with a handful of complex characters.  The main character, Mia being the most complex of all.  There’s a lot of silence and analysis to see whats beneath the surface.  Its wondering what will happening next because everyone is unpredictable in their own way. It feels an ugly reality thrust in our faces except sometimes how do you determine what is right or wrong and is ugly and beautiful. Its about learning to not just look out at everyone but to have the courage to live life, take chances, love others (and yourself) and probably there’s so much more.

I highly recommend Fish Tank.  Its not fast-paced but the whole story is compelling all the same 🙂

Have you seen Fish Tank? Did you like it? What do you think about Michael Fassbender? Are you a fan of coming of age stories?