Universal acclaim - based on 31 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 49 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • 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) Expand
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. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: Ian Buckwalter
    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.
  4. 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.
  5. Arnold generally steers clear of cinematic melodrama, and Jarvis infuses the entire film with the sort of kinetic spirit that heralds a new talent.
  6. 80
    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." [18 Jan. 2010, p. 83]
  7. A grimy kitchen-sink melodrama with an Ajax cleanser script: The muck is all surface, the turmoil cleanly shallow and contrived, though never less than gripping.

See all 31 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 10 out of 11
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 11
  3. Negative: 1 out of 11
  1. Aug 3, 2013
    I love this movie. Watching these slummy British people living their lives is so real it's devastating. It's also bitingly funny, naturally tender, and sometimes exhilarating. Expand
  2. May 17, 2011
    The British film Fish Tank is a rare movie-going experience, in that we the viewer move from simple voyeurs to the feeling that we are participating in the story to, finally, the feeling that we are the main character, somehow trapped in the same existence and the same feelings of hopelessness and despair that permeate her life. The her I refer to is Mia (Katie Jarvis), a 15 year old teen living a pretty lousy life in Essex with her little sister Tyler (Rebecca Griffiths) and her single, party-going mother (Kierston Wareing). The three of them co-exist in a flat that is always dirty and they speak to each other with no hint that they are a family â Expand
  3. Nov 22, 2011
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. There is a three reasons that this film apparently works. 1) It is completely unexpected, such as Mia bumping uglies with Connor, little Tyler literally swearing and giving herself health problems when we see her and her friend smoking and drinking, or when Connor's little daughter falling into the river and or ten seconds, all that Mia can do is look in horror how she'll survive the icy water. 2) Katie Jarvis. That **** can definitely act for sure, it almost looks like that Mia isn't a character, but rather Katie Jarvis' persona. 3) Michael Fassbender. Around this period of his life, he really was blossoming into his acting, after proving he is very good in Hunger, that it's scary. Plus, he is so good-looking and sexual, that he sizzles to Mia to the point where he has sex with her. Plus, with this particular scene, it proves that Michael Fassbender will do anything to get particularly noticed by the big awards, like Oscars, Golden Globes, etc, even if it means that he has to have sex with a girl half his age (Fish Tank), show off his genitalia and anus (Hunger), get a silly mustache (A Dangerous Method), or even have sex with a hundred girls and his character's sister (Shame), or so I've heard. Expand
  4. Apr 9, 2011
    This great British film, winner of the Cannes Jury Prize, combines the likes of "Precious" and "An Education" to give us one of the grittiest and most candid looks at a teen's life since "The Basketball Diaries". Director Andrea Arnold (who brought us the indie hit "Red Road") presents a world that is so honest and real, one we normally don't see on the screen. The film's candor, however, ultimately comes from the refreshingly flawless performances by Michael Fassbender and newcomer Katie Jarvis. Well shot and well performed, "Fish Tank" has become a staple in recent British cinema. Expand
  5. Sep 27, 2013
    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. Expand
  6. Feb 24, 2013
    I stumbled across Fish Tank simply because Michael Fassbender is in it; I had never really heard much about it because it's a low-budget British indie film. I'm glad I came across it because it's a really good little film. Extremely realistic portrayal of a troubled family, great characters, perfect pace, and excellent performances from Fassbender and Jarvis. I completely recommend this film! Expand
  7. Jan 18, 2014
    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!!! Expand

See all 11 User Reviews


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