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The life of hot-tempered teen outcast, Mia, takes an unexpected turn when her mother, Joanne, brings home a handsome and mysterious boyfriend named Connor. He pledges to bring sweeping positive changes to the household. The title of the film fits the movie very well. Mia is trapped in a 'fish tank' who dreams of the ocean where life is grand. Even though the movie is gloomy, Fish Tank is a character study Those who are aggravated by abrupt endings should be aware that this movie has one. However, we are given enough information to figure it out on our own. This film is an emotional roller coaster that doesn't let up until the credits roll. This is clearly not a mainstream piece of cinema, but movie buffs will appreciate how well-crafted this screenplay is.
Fish Tank contains the breakout role for Katie Jarvis as Mia. She is absolutely captivating in her role. Not only is Jarvis believable, but makes the character three-dimensional. Michael Fassbender has a smaller role as Connor, the boyfriend of Mia's mother. His character isn't as deeply explored as Mia, although Fassbender does well with the screen time he received. The cast is quite good as a whole. However, Katie Jarvis certainly displays the strongest performance as Mia.
After hearing about all of the hype surrounding Fish Tank, I was hoping for the best. I wasn't disappointed. Along with many of the films released by Criterion Collection, some audiences may find the movie to be a bit slow. Don't expect an action packed adventure here. This is a close character study expressing Mia in her environment and her attempt to break out. I'm glad that Criterion Collection decided to release this piece of cinema to America. Fish Tank is an emotionally powerful film that comes highly recommended.