Fish Tank

The life of hot-tempered teen outcast Mia (Katie Jarvis) takes an unexpected turn when her mother, Joanne (Kierston Wareing), brings home a handsome and mysterious boyfriend named Connor (Michael Fassbender), who pledges to bring sweeping positive changes to the household. British writer-director Andrea Arnold's sophomore feature won Best British Film at the 2010 BAFTAs.
HD Available
Netflix Rating: 3.4
Rotten Tomatoes: Fresh 90%
Critics' score: 89   Audience score: 79   Rotten Tomatoes page
Top Rotten Tomatoes Critics

A bold new entry in the long-standing British tradition of disquieting social realism. full review

The characters are guarded, and as we come to understand them scene by scene, they become ever harder to sort into convenient categories of hero and villain. full review

Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Writer-director Andrea Arnold, working in British lower-class realism, still finds wondrous moments of connection in Mia's life. full review

Tom Long, Detroit News

Writer-director Andrea Arnold has created something so real and raw, you may come away with a twinge of guilty voyeurism, a sense of peering too closely and impolitely into other people's lives. full review

David Germain, Associated Press

The film swims in an anguish not solely the result of Mia's coming of age -- and yet, it surfaces for air in ways compelling and uncompromising. full review

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

To the script's credit, when the climax comes it feels inevitable yet surprising too -- that ideal combination. full review

Rick Groen, Globe and Mail

In a year less crowded with new young talent, Katie Jarvis might now be getting fittings for her Oscar nomination dress. full review

Peter Howell, Toronto Star

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. full review

Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer

Watching Fish Tank is, as the title implies, like gazing through the glass of an aquarium at the lives of those trapped within, whose only chance of escape would seem to be through death and the indignity of being flushed down a toilet. full review

James Berardinelli, ReelViews

Unfolds as a conventional coming-of-age story, yet Andrea Arnold hasn't altered her persuasively jaundiced view of men, who seem as pitifully helpless against their horndog urges as the women foolish enough to care for them. full review

J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader

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. full review

Ann Hornaday, Washington Post

A remarkable downer-upper paradox: a bruising tale of teenage resilience, honest and emotionally complicated and alive. full review

Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune

Arnold sees everything through Mia's eyes and never steps outside to explain things from any other point of view. She knows who the young girl is, and we are left to assume. full review

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

The brilliant power of the film comes from the gritty reality Arnold creates. full review

Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times

As it stands, Fish Tank is a valuable movie, though it aspires to a social insight it doesn't attain and a psychological penetration it won't maintain. full review

Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle

Jarvis' debut performance is a bracingly authentic revelation. She was discovered by filmmakers in a train station as she fought with her boyfriend, and brings just the right blend of feisty forcefulness and awkward tenderness to the part. full review

Claudia Puig, USA Today

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. full review

Ty Burr, Boston Globe

This is disturbing stuff, [but] unexpectedly hopeful in its outlook. full review

Michael Phillips, At the Movies

Fish Tank is a coming-of-age story for Mia, who will at least have a shot at happiness, and a coming-into-mastery story for the writer-director, Ms. Arnold, whose prospects seem limitless. full review

Joe Morgenstern, Wall Street Journal

The contradictions of adolescence have rarely been conveyed with such authenticity and force.

A.O. Scott, New York Times
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