7.3/10
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Fish Tank (2009)

Not Rated | | Drama | 11 September 2009 (UK)
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Everything changes for 15-year-old Mia when her mum brings home a new boyfriend.

Director:

Andrea Arnold

Writer:

Andrea Arnold
21 wins & 29 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Katie Jarvis ... Mia
Michael Fassbender ... Conor
Kierston Wareing ... Joanne
Rebecca Griffiths Rebecca Griffiths ... Tyler
Harry Treadaway ... Billy
Sydney Mary Nash Sydney Mary Nash ... Keira
Carrie-Ann Savill Carrie-Ann Savill ... Tyler's Friend
Toyin Ogidi Toyin Ogidi ... Tyler's Friend
Grant Wild Grant Wild ... Keeley's Dad
Sarah Bayes Sarah Bayes ... Keeley
Charlotte Collins Charlotte Collins ... Tall Dancing Girl
Kirsty Smith Kirsty Smith ... Dancing Girl
Chelsea Chase Chelsea Chase ... Dancing Girl
Brooke Hobby Brooke Hobby ... Dancing Girl
Jason Maza ... Billy's Brother
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Storyline

Mia, an aggressive fifteen-year-old girl, lives on an Essex estate with her tarty mother, Joanne, and precocious little sister Tyler. She has been thrown out of school and is awaiting admission to a referrals unit and spends her days aimlessly. She begins an uneasy friendship with Joanne's slick boyfriend, Connor, who encourages her one interest, dancing. Written by don @ minifie-1

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Live, love and give as good as you get.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official site [France]

Country:

UK | Netherlands

Language:

English

Release Date:

11 September 2009 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Fish Tank See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend:

£103,180 (United Kingdom), 13 September 2009, Limited Release

Opening Weekend USA:

$32,619, 17 January 2010, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$373,060, 9 May 2010
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Katie Jarvis, who plays Mia, had never acted before this film. A casting director spotted her having a fight with her boyfriend at a train station and offered her the role. See more »

Goofs

As Mia is leaving the dance audition, she passes a mirrored wall and the cameraman and his equipment is clearly reflected. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[Mia calls Keeley using a cellphone]
Keeley: [from an answering machine] Hey, it's Keeley. Leave me a message.
Mia: Keeley, it's me. What's going on? I've left like three messages. I said sorry, didn't I? You know what I'm like. I was pissed off. Ring me back, you bitch.
See more »

Connections

Featured in The EE British Academy Film Awards (2015) See more »

Soundtracks

Broadway Jungle
Performed by Toots & The Maytals
Written by Toots Hibbert (as Frederic "Toots" Hibbert)
Published by Maxwood Music
Under under licence from Prince Buster Music, Inc
See more »

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User Reviews

 
An exhilarating dance of liberation
28 March 2010 | by howard.schumannSee all my reviews

The poet Rumi said, "A rose's rarest essence lives in the thorn." The thorn is in full evidence in Andrea Arnold's compellingly honest second feature Fish Tank, the story of a fifteen year-old girl's struggle for self respect after having "grown up absurd" in the London projects. Fish Tank, a film that is overflowing with life, works on many levels – as a look into squalid economic and social conditions in small town Britain, as a warning to those who act impulsively and without self-control, and as a coming-of-age story that allows us to experience a genuine sense of character growth. Winner of the Jury Prize at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival, the film features an astounding performance from first-time actress Katie Jarvis, a 17-year-old who was discovered by the director while having an argument with her boyfriend on an Essex train station platform.

Set in a bleak housing project in a working class London suburb, fifteen-year-old Mia is an angry, isolated but vulnerable teen who lives with her boozy mom (Koerston Wareing) and little sister Tyler (an adorable Rebecca Griffiths). Mia has no friends and is dogged by a mean-spirited mother who makes Mo'Nique in Precious look like Mother Teresa. Filled with barely controlled rage, Mia seems uncertain as to whether she is looking for a fight or for sex. She goes from head-butting a rival on the playground to struggling to free a half-starved horse tied up in a junkyard while cozying up to the horse's owner Billy (Harry Treadway), a gentle 19-year-old who seems genuinely interested.

Dreaming of becoming a dancer, Mia breaks into an abandoned apartment and practices her hip-hop dance routines alone to borrowed CDs of pop music including California Dreaming, the only time when she can feel good about herself. Mia's first taste of something resembling kindness happens when her mother brings home a sexy, shirtless Irish lover named Connor (Michael Fassbender) who works as a security guard Fassbender's performance oscillates between the charming and the shady and we do not know who is real and who is pretend and where it will lead. Mia has more than a passing interest in him, revealed by her deep glances and facial expressions.

When Connor lends Mia his camera to film her dancing in preparation for an audition, she uses it to spy on Connor and her mom making love. One of the loveliest scenes is when Connor carries a drunken Mia from the living room and puts her to bed, gently taking off her clothes while Mia, pretending to be asleep, sneaks an occasional peak and is obviously enjoying the moment. Although Connor's interest in Mia appears innocent, from the time Mia cuts her foot on a family fishing trip and Connor gives her a piggy back ride to the car, tension gradually builds until it explodes in a seduction that is not only inappropriate but has serious consequences.

Fish Tank is a strong and unpredictable film because Mia is a strong (though flawed) character who refuses to allow her miserable circumstances to control her life. Arnold uses the fierce slang of the streets, overt sexual encounters, and gritty hand-held camera-work to tell an authentic story of adolescence that in lesser hands might have recycled genre clichés, provided a falsely uplifting message, or offered a sentimentalized view of poverty. That the film opens the door long enough to provide a breath of fresh air once again tells us that life can be governed by what is possible rather than what is reasonable and Fish Tank, instead of becoming another sordid study of pathology, becomes an exhilarating dance of liberation.


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