As part of that series I said I was going to start and then immediately forgot about, I am going to recommend a movie that is available to watch instantly on Netflix.
My choice is Fish Tank.
I know what you’re thinking: “Fish Tank? Sounds like a ripoff of Rabbit Hole!” But they’re actually totally different!!
Fish Tank came to me due to Netflix’s own relentless recommendation system. After months of being told that it was a movie with a Strong Female Lead, I finally noticed it was also a Criterion Collection movie (I am, after all, pretentious), so I hit play.
For those of you desperate to compare this to films from 2009 that were nominated for Best Picture, this movie is about 70% Precious and 30% An Education (thankfully, it is 0% The Blind Side). Director Andrea Arnold portrays a side of life in the UK that we don’t usually get to see over here. Mia, played by Kate Jarvis in her first acting gig, is about as far as you can get from Bridget Jones or Edina Monsoon. Mia is a deeply broken human being. She’s a friendless teenager living in public housing with her younger sister and deadbeat mom. She fights and calls people cunts as cavalierly as you or I might eat breakfast and say schnauzer. As un-charming a character as she is, there is so much pain in her face that I can’t help rooting for her. Her one outlet seems to be hip-hop dancing (don’t worry, Mia doesn’t “stomp” her way out of poverty or anything).
The plot of Fish Tank starts when Mia’s maddeningly irresponsible mother brings home a new boyfriend, played by the alarmingly attractive Michael Fassbender. He shows more interest in Mia and her sister than their mother ever has. Mia doesn’t quite know how to deal with an adult who doesn’t scream curses at her.
The story goes to some dark and uncomfortable places, but it does so honestly and naturally. Plus, it’s like, really juicy, so that kept me on the edge of my seat. Watch it!
Watch the trailer here.
Watch the whole movie (if you’re a Netflix subscriber) here.