Fish Tank (2009)

Fish Tank

Director: Andrea Arnold

Cast: Katie Jarvis, Michael Fassbender, Kierston Wareing

A gritty, unflinching social drama set against the backdrop of a dreary Essex housing estate. Fifteen year old Mia shares a squalid apartment with her boozy, slutty mom and precocious younger sister. Foul mouthed, aggressive and recently suspended from school, Mia finds escape in her dream of becoming a dancer. When she is not swearing at random people, or swilling whatever liquor is at hand, she practises her moves in a nearby abandoned apartment.

The entrance of her mother’s new boyfriend, smooth operator, Connor, creates a Lolita-esque frisson in the fragile household. He encourages Mia’s dancing, while at the same time succumbing to her advances. Their precarious friendship twists and turns throughout the movie, causing its fair share of familial conflict.

The movie satisfyingly veers from over stylising underclass squalor, or trying to promote a sanctimonious social message. Heroes and villains are hard to identify as most of the central characters experience personal growth of some sort.
Recommended for those who enjoy realistic dramas with a touch of voyeurism.