After redeeming herself from a troubled past tracy sets a goal of owning her own business. But the return of her ex-boyfriend & the criminal intentions of her brother threaten to tear apart her goals & test her relationshi... more »p to her mother. Will her dreams be enough to start a new life? Studio: First Look Home Entertain Release Date: 05/06/2008 Starring: Cate Blanchett Hugo Weaving Run time: 109 minutes« less
Depressing and unpredictable - 2 of my favorite things in a
Leslie Thompson | a mid-atlantic state, USA | 07/23/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I saw this dvd in the previewed section at Blockbuster, not knowing what it was really about. But my admiration for Blanchett and Neill compelled me to buy it, and I'm glad that I did.
Blanchett's character, Tracy, is trying to get her life back together post drug addiction, but society is slow to forgive a bad, broken-down history. One of my favorite scenes is when she's at the bank and shoves the loan officer's photographs of her children onto the floor, smashing the glass all over the place. Another time she breaks something is at the restaurant, where she finds Jonny with his family. The violent outbursts are certainly in line with her character (understandable, I mean - not excusable). She's frustrated, trying to get money for her business, and turned down (though it is very understandable why the bank would do that, as most financial institutions aren't too keen on the risk of lending to someone who's on their "second chance" at anything). Also, she gives her old boyfriend Jonny a second chance, but he ends up deceiving her.
I appreciated how the movie as a whole was unpredictable with great character studies (although I wish Sam Neill's character had a larger role). In the dvd special features section, Blanchett says that she loved how the movie centered on 30 year olds who weren't "cool" because they didn't know what they were doing with their lives, still living with parents - and most movies ignore those kind of people and the struggles they face.
The end kind of leaves you hanging. The beach part was beautiful, though I hated seeing the bug near Lionel's eye.
Really sad music, too. I loved the karaoke bits, and the song that was playing in the beginning at the reunion dance party, as well as the song that the children sang. I don't think I can reproduce the lyrics here, but the song is quite intriguing and fits with the movie so well. It's called "Flame Trees.""
Another Superb Film From Australia
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/13/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Writer Jacqueline Perske and Director Rowan Woods chalk up another successful Australian film in LITTLE FISH, an intense, very personal drama about how illegal drugs affect communities, families and individuals. The story begs patience from the viewer as it is gratefully one that does not spell everything out for the viewer, but instead introduces the characters slowly and with hints of backgrounds that bring them to the moments of crisis the timeframe of the film uses.
Taking place in the Little Saigon area of Sydney, Tracy Heart (Cate Blanchett) is a recovered junkie who lives with her mother Janelle (Noni Hazlehurst) and partial amputee brother Ray (Martin Henderson), each trying to make ends meet in a life previously destroyed by drug addiction. Tracy has been clean for four years, works in a video store but has dreams of owning her own business, dreams that are thwarted by banks refusing to give her business loans solely on the basis of her previous addiction. Ray, his amputated leg the result of a car accident somehow connected with drugs, still sells heroin in 'little fish' containers, occasionally calling upon Tracy to make pickups and deliveries. The now absent stepfather Lionel (Hugo Weaving) fights his own addiction both to drugs and to his dealer Brad (Sam Neill) with whom he has been in a gay relationship since his divorce from Janelle. Tracy tries to support Lionel's attempts to kick his habit, but the attempts are failures. Everything comes to a head when 1) Tracy is desperate without her needed bank loan, 2) Tracy's Vietnamese ex-lover Jonny (Dustin Nguyen) returns from Vancouver where his family sent him to avoid the persecution of rehab in Sydney, 3) Brad retires leaving Lionel without a source of drugs or love and Lionel is replaced by a quasi-normal Steven (Joel Tobeck) who kicks the last part of the film into a spin. There are no solutions to anyone's problems: things just happen and the characters respond in the best way they can with the ominous cloud of drug addiction shading their lives and futures.
The script is terse and smart and the direction is relentlessly realistic and well paced. Cate Blanchett gives a sterling portrayal of the very complex Tracy, and Hugo Weaving, Noni Hazelhurst, Sam Neill, Dustin Nguyen, and Martin Henderson are superb. This is a tough little film that does not fear to examine the truth about the effect of drugs on people's lives and spirits. It is a very fine film. Recommended. Grady Harp, April 06
Another astounding performance from Australia's Queen Kate..
M. J Leonard | Silver Lake, Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/11/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sydney is awash in illegal drugs, at least that's the impression one gets when watching the difficult new Cate Blanchett film Little Fish. Directed by Rowan Woods, the film is not only a vehicle for showcasing the wonderful Queen Kate at her very best, but shows a very gritty, desperate side of the Sydney drug scene, far from the glamorous party world of the inner-city.
The story centers on Tracy Heart (Blanchett), a 32-year-old recovering drug addict who manages a video store in the working class Western Sydney suburb of Cabramatta. Tracy's an insecure, restless and watchful girl, who is anxious to get on with her life. After four year working as the manager of the video store, her boss wants her to buy it and expand it by offering Internet access.
But her druggie past constantly haunts her and because of her record of credit-card fraud during her days on heroin, her applications for a bank loan are summarily rejected. And although Tracy has been clean for a number of years, the physical and emotional detritus from the bad old days surrounds her. She refuses to break her connections to bad-boy Lionel Dawson (Hugo Weaving), a former Australian football star and family friend who introduced her to heroin in the first place and who is still using.
Lionel is ex-lover of the local drug kingpin, Brad Thompson (Sam Neill). Brad is also Lionel's supplier and the local resident evil bad boy. After announcing that he's about to retire from the business, Lionel is thrown into a panic and in desperation turns to Tracy to supply him with his fix. But Tracy also has to contend with the arrival of former boyfriend and co-junkie, Jonny (Dustin Nguyen), a lithe and deceptively charismatic Vietnamese Australian who has ostensibly returned to Sydney from Vancouver to work as a stockbroker, but has darker motives and a hidden agenda.
Completing the foursome is Tracy's brother (Martin Henderson), who lost his leg in a mysterious car accident, and has begun selling vials of heroin, "little fish" in local pubs and clubs. Tracy's mother Janelle (a fabulous Noni Hazlehurst) is fiercely protective of her daughter and is concerned that she might start using again, and she becomes even more concerned when Jonny turns up at their house, re-igniting the old romantic spark between them.
Little Fish is an opaque, enigmatic and cryptic film, which at first glance is not easily accessible - like the pool where Tracy constantly swims, everything is hidden under the surface and it takes awhile for the plot to kick in. In the meantime, we are introduced to this eclectic cast of characters that populate Tracy's bedraggled and fractured world. Obviously whether Tracy will start using again is part of the dramatic intent, but the film is also interested in exploring the often complicated and conflicted relationships existing amongst the characters.
While all the performances are superlative - particularly Hugo Weaving as the emaciated, and beaten-down Lionel - Little Fish is really Ms. Blanchett's film. She fully embodies Kate's frustrations and anger at the world and her impatience to remake herself - to get the break that she so desperately craves for. And her portrayal of a damaged and highly-strung woman so desperate to live a "straight" life, free from the temptations of heroin is formidable.
Little Fish is a sober and beautifully played film. It's honest and uncompromising and it doesn't offer any easy answers to the problems of heroin and the day-today struggles of ex-junkies. The urge to use is always there for Kate, and the fact that she's willing to lie on her bank loan application indicate that old habits die-hard.
The cycle of secrecy and deceit is still there and can remain long after the actual habit has been kicked, proving that the drug can still have a vice-like grip on those who stay around it long after they've stopped using. Mike Leonard April 06. "
Slow but entertaining
Nate | Brisbane, QLD AUSTRALIA | 11/15/2006
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Little fish is about a woman trying to escape her past and get on with her life. Tracey, a former heroin addict, finds it hard to break her shackles and find her independance that she so desperately wants. Being in her 30's, still living with her mum and brother dealing with the return of her ex-boyfriend after a 4 year abscense and trying to help her drug addicted step father kick his habit, only add to all the frustrations Tracey (played by Blanchett) feel in her life. With little glimmer of hope, the banks keep refusing to loan her money to kick start her own business and a second chance for a new life, you can see Tracey become more and more frustrated and angry as the story progresses. Director Rowan Woods develops a background of all the characters brilliantly, but doesn't really take the script anywhere. Best known for his work on the play, "the boys", Woods doesn't seem able to take the script by Jacquelin Perske anywhere, it just kind of sits dormant. The script centre's around the lead character, plated brilliantly by Cate Blanchett, it is worth seeing the movie for her performance alone. With an ensemble cast including Hugo Weaving, Sam Neill, Martin Henderson, Lisa McCune, Noni Hazlehurst and Susie Porter, it is a who's who of Australian cinema. The chemistry between Blanchett and Henderson, as her brother is outstanding and it is these two characters that carry the film. Henderson's charcter Ray is fighting demons of his own, having lost his leg in car accident caused by Jonny, Tracey's ex boyfriend, who's return opens old wounds that seem to affect every character, especially Tracey and Ray's mum, played by Noni Hazlehurst. Set in and around Cabramatta, a violent and drug riddled suburb of south-western Sydney, this is a tense, often depressing drama, that is slow at times, but moving and powerful. Probably about 20 minutes too long, the ending is slightly disappointing and leaves too many issues unresolved and up in the air. There seems little closure for the charcters involved and you are left wondering if there was a happy ending or a tragic one. The music and cinematography is good, the acting is excellent, but overall I couldn't help but be a little disappointed after watching it. Certainly not as good as woods previous effort, 'the boys'."
Boring and Depressing....
Kristen Stuart Peterson | White Bear Lake, MN USA | 05/31/2009
(1 out of 5 stars)
"I picked this movie up because I really enjoy Cate Blanchett and I hadn't even heard of this one, but I really just didn't like it. I would never buy this movie nor watch it again. The DVD case said "Psychological Thriller", "Your hairs will be standing up on end", "Weaving looks a lot scarier than he ever did as Mr. Smith in the 'Matrix' films"....needless, to say I was expecting to be watching an exciting, edge-of-your-seat-suspense film, but what I got was a slow, plodding, expose' in the screwed up, tragic lives of drug addicts and the people around them. It was extremely depressing given the fact that the end of the movie leaves viewers with nothing to feel good about. These characters don't seem to ever change or truly move past their addictive, manipulative behavior...and maybe that's the point, I don't know. I did think the acting by all the cast was good...they really seemed to be the people they were portraying...and I still love Cate, but I thought the movie was really dreary with very little suspense unless you count the anxiety of whether they'll get through whatever hare-brained scheme they've come up with to get what they want (ie drugs or money) for the day."