Fish Tank is celluloid rawness. Fifteen-year-old Mia (Katie Jarvis) busts onto the screen gulping alcohol from any bottle she can get her hands on, head-butting a former friend for no apparent reason and trying to liberate a neglected horse. The moment her party-girl mom’s one-night stand catches her dancing in her council estate kitchen, Mia’s life changes.
Mia lives in a den of hostility with her younger sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths) and their critical mother Joanne (Kierston Wareing). The three are foul-mouthed and rage-filled. When Joanne’s new boyfriend Connor (Michael Fassbender) starts giving Mia the attention she’s starved for and encourages her dreams of being a hip-hop dancer, she puts her fury aside. She lessens her missions to chaos and destruction in lieu of the dancing, especially when a big audition comes her way. Just as it appears she’s getting on track a huge betrayal derails her. You don’t cross Mia Williams unless you are ready for her wrath. The dance scene shared by the three ladies at the end is priceless. A great movie without this scene but their connection utters the feeling they don’t state.
Brutal, cutting, unsanded—Mia is an animal I didn’t want to release. Get comfortable on the edge of your sofa for the maelstrom from which you won’t be able to turn. In the end, I was upset with Mia’s choice; I wanted her to return to school and expand upon her awakening. She’s a fighter but where will she end up? This is a genuine ending but I’m still mad at her for leaving.
Andrea Arnold also directed the brilliant Red Road (which was meant to be the first in a trilogy using the same actors).
Writer/Director: Andrea Arnold
Run time: 122 minutes