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Critics Wild for FISH TANK Expansion

Posted on Friday, January 29th, 2010 by IFC Films News

Tags: FISH TANK, News, Reviews

Andrea Arnold’s FISH TANK opens today in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Boston, and the praise is unflagging from critics nationwide:

BETSY SHARKEY of the The LA TIMES calls the film “an exceptionally well-crafted drama…The 17-year-old [Katie Jarvis] so completely captures the innocence, cynicism and rage of a child of poverty and divorce on the edge of adulthood that it feels as if you are spying on Mia, so achingly real, so tangible does her world seem here…Though you can feel the heat of her anger, and the pain of her disappointments, it is the shots of Mia alone that linger. In a scene that runs through the film, she has broken into a boarded-up apartment, its windows overlooking the despair below. It’s where she dances, headphones dangling, moving slowly to music only she can hear. It says everything about her isolation and her still-flickering sense of hope. It is moments like these that leave you as desperate as that 15-year-old to fan that flame.”

“FISH TANK is a brilliantly acted and achingly bleak coming-of-age story,” echoes Claudia Puig of USA Today. “Writer-director Andrea Arnold’s naturalistic and detached filmmaking style is ideal for this unsettling story…Jarvis’ debut performance is a bracingly authentic revelation… Fish Tank hauntingly conveys a genuine sense of adolescence and an environment that seems lacking in hope and promise. But Jarvis’ breakthrough performance and Arnold’s talent for evoking such naturalistic portrayals are promising, indeed.”

The opening scenes of “Fish Tank’’ are enough to break your heart,” continues Ty Burr at the Boston Globe. “With a bare minimum of dialogue – none of which I can print – Arnold establishes Mia’s barren environment and the hope and fury that war beneath the surface of the girl’s skin…The director’s eye for detail at times seems magical: When Mia caresses a horse she has found chained in a weed-strewn lot, we can almost feel the texture of the animal’s weathered flank. This is the way a teenager raging on the edge of life experiences the world, and “Fish Tank’’ at times makes Mia’s emotions so vivid you gasp for breath… “Fish Tank’’ should be seen for what it does well and for what it hints may come, if Andrea Arnold and her audiences are lucky.”


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