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Past Films

The Essentials: Fish Tank (2009)

  • Starring: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing
  • Director: Andrea Arnold
  • Genre(s): Drama
  • Rating: NR
  • Running Time: 123 min.

The Essentials: Auteurs
This quarterly series showcases the “essential” films everyone should see on the big screen. For each month-long program, we’ll screen five films organized by one of the following themes: directors, actors, genres, and eras/movements.

Essential tickets are $9 for Adults, $8 for Students/Seniors and Members get in Free!

Summary: The film is an emotionally stunning coming-of-age story, electrified by the breakthrough performance of its young star Katie Jarvis. Fifteen-year-old Mia is in a constant state of war with her family and the world around her, without any creative outlet for her considerable energies save a secret love of hip-hop dance. When she meets her party-girl mother’s charming new boyfriend Connor, she is amazed to find he returns her attention, and believes he might help her start to make sense of her life. A clear-eyed, potent portrait of teenage sexuality and vulnerability, Fish Tank confirms writer/director Arnold’s status as one of the leading figures of new British cinema. (IFC Films)

"Fish Tank may begin as a patch of lower-class chaos, but it turns into a commanding, emotionally satisfying movie, comparable to such youth-in-trouble classics as The 400 Blows."
- David Denby, New Yorker
"A bold new entry in the long-standing British tradition of disquieting social realism."
- Ian Buckwalter, NPR
"Fish Tank, which won the 2009 Jury Prize in Cannes, has moments when Mia's tribulations really hit home."
- Peter Rainer, Christian Science Monitor
"Fish Tank digs around in its protagonist's psyche, unafraid to explore. It's oppressive and claustrophobic, confused and scary in there. But it's also compellingly real."
- Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer
"Jarvis, whom the director reportedly discovered at an Essex train station, is nothing less than a revelation in a performance that is tender, spiky and utterly fearless in its physical and emotional range."
- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
"A remarkable downer-upper paradox: a bruising tale of teenage resilience, honest and emotionally complicated and alive."
- Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
"The film has won a theater full of awards overseas, including Outstanding British Film at the BAFTA Film Awards and the Jury Prize at Cannes. Fish Tank deserves to do equally as well on this side of the pond."
- Cary Darling, Dallas Morning News
"Katie Jarvis, 18, hits you like a shot in the heart with her sensational breakout performance. And cheers to director Andrea Arnold, who flies on her own unerring instincts."
- Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
"A film that brilliantly and sensitively buzzes with life and offers its very own take on our world and our city. It delivers in spades attitude, humour, sadness, love, anger and hope."
- Dave Calhoun, Time Out