film reviews

Fish Tank

Hello, dear readers!

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

I’ve been swamped with schoolwork, but it’s the best kind of swamped because I’m reading fun books. Even though I have to post to a discussion forum, write little papers, and do a final project, I’m so glad I decided to take this summer class.

On this Free Day, I’m totally doin’ a movie review.

Fish Tank is an honest film about neglect, a broken home life, the power of dance, and second chances. 15-year-old Mia, a troubled teen, whose life changes once her single mother gets a new boyfriend, Conner. Mia also has a dysfunctional home life, where her mother tends to neglect both Mia and her younger sister, Taylor. Their mother, as a younger woman, still parties with her girlfriends. I got the impression that she didn’t really care that Mia and Taylor, sent to their rooms during a house party, were drinking beer and smoking cigarettes while watching television.

Mia uses dance as an escape. Throughout Fish Tank, she utilizes an empty apartment as an impromptu studio where she vents her pent-up anger through a hip-hop routine.

From Google images.
Dance practice. 

Mia has learned from her mother to hide her emotions in anger. She tends to pick fights, talk back to her mother, sister, and Conner. She frequently swears, smokes cigarettes, and drinks beer–or something stronger if it’s available. Mia was expelled from school, and is supposed to attend a reform school. Disgusted with the informative letter, she rips it up and tosses the pieces out the window.

The arrival of Conner alters her life. He compliments Mia on her dancing abilities, which she brusquely ignores during their first meeting. Conner begins to spend more time with the small family. While she does do some things to spite her mother–like deciding to tag along on a car ride to a river–Mia begins to develop something akin to her version of a soft spot for Conner.

For a moment, Conner assumes the role of a father figure. He gives both Mia and Taylor money, he teases the girls, helps put both of them to bed, and occasionally offers advice to Mia.

Parental figure.
Parental figure.

But this budding idyllic lifestyle cannot last forever, especially since a sexual tension builds between Mia and Conner. I assume that her mother knows about this, but I think Mia tries to hide her growing attraction to Conner through her usual snide remarks towards him.

I didn’t realize until after I looked up articles about the film that Conner got Mia’s mom drunk on purpose, so that he could have illicit sex with Mia who is 15, which is a year under the age of consent in the UK. This sexual act, as well as his dating Mia’s mother, becomes even worse when you learn that he has a wife and a young daughter. I refuse to believe that Mia was fully consenting to their sexual encounter. I agree with the article that I read that Mia was taken advantage of, and that this wasn’t her first time having sex or being used by her mother’s previous boyfriends. It makes me angry and sad that Mia has had to live with this for God knows how long.

Despite the sadness in this film, Mia’s determination to survive her current situation is what kept me watching. Her decision, at the end of the film, to get the hell out of there, was wonderful. I was so happy that there was a way out for Mia. (I also loved that she is heading for Cardiff, where Doctor Who is filmed some of the time. It’s also where Torchwood’s base is, at least for a little while.) Nerdy mentions aside, Mia’s plan to escape with the nice guy she befriends made me want to believe and hope that Taylor would, one day, have a way to also escape the neglect and the broken state of their home.

I highly recommend this film. (For anyone who’s interested, Fish Tank is streamable on Netflix.)


Add your thoughts.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s