Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 28 out of 31
  2. Negative: 0 out of 31
  1. 100
    Arnold deserves comparison with a British master director like Ken Loach.
  2. 100
    The only person who seems to understand the angry teen is mom's new boyfriend (Michael Fassbender of Hunger), though their friendship oscillates between intimate and vaguely creepy.
  3. The amazingly natural first-timer was discovered, in a gift of publicity-ready truth, while having an argument with her boyfriend at a train station.
  4. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    90
    Andrea Arnold has crafted a scene that approaches a literal embodiment of the term "kitchen-sink drama" here is most likely coincidence; nevertheless, her film is a bold new entry in that long-standing British tradition of disquieting social realism.
  5. Arnold's first feature, "Red Road" (2006), centers on another outsider, a woman who monitors security cameras. The film is formally brilliant, but it doesn't have the breathtaking openness of Fish Tank.
  6. The 17-year-old 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.
  7. 90
    The contradictions of adolescence have rarely been conveyed with such authenticity and force.
  8. Reviewed by: Leslie Felperin
    90
    What makes the picture feel special is its unflinching honesty and lack of sentimentality or moralizing, along with assured direction and excellent performances.
  9. It's been a good while since I've seen a movie whose most powerful sequence was both unforeseen and entirely unpredictable as it played out.
  10. Fish Tank isn't an easy watch – it's like two hours of ache – but there are rich rewards to be had in the many ways Arnold and her terrific team rend us to and fro.
  11. 88
    While you're remembering new high-impact names, add Arnold. In only her second film, after 2006's "Red Road," she keeps the screen filled to bursting with the beauty and raw terror of life.
  12. A remarkable downer-upper paradox: a bruising tale of teenage resilience, honest and emotionally complicated and alive.
  13. It's oppressive and claustrophobic, confused and scary in there. But it's also compellingly real.
  14. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    A brilliantly acted and achingly bleak coming-of-age story.
  15. 88
    In many ways Fish Tank joins "An Education" and "Precious" as an acute, empathic portrait of a girl growing up, but more than those films Arnold leaves viewers with a feeling of unsettled ambiguity.
  16. 88
    It's not comfortable but it is engrossing.
User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 47 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. Dec 14, 2012
    8
    A fine piece of British realism, Fish Tank offers more passiveness than attitude (the semi-opposite of it's moody lead) and that's what makes it such an enthralling movie. With a star turn performance by Katie Jarvis it's bound to leave you emotionally resonated -- but to whom and what is the what makes this film special. Full Review »
  2. Jan 18, 2014
    0
    two girls, that haven't any clue what they're doing. One, a mother, the other, a daughter, and a guy that's a rapist, who also has no clue what he's doing... Are undelightfully brought together by a writer, that also doesn't know what he's doing. Exciting plot elements like rape, and child abuse, are about to ensue in this otherwise plot-less movie. If you didn't want to see anything of substance, you've made a good choice having this movie in your queue! Enjoy!!! Full Review »
  3. Sep 27, 2013
    8
    Both entertaining, touching, deep, truthful etc. I've known people from all corners of society and can say that this was a realistic account (also of the clashes), and that I walked away a little bit more enlightened about the structures, and reminded that the mechanisms are important to keep in mind. Full Review »