Andrea Arnold has a unique style of directing, with Fish Tank you are pulled in straight away – no titles, no cast list. Because of this the story seems all the more realistic. Katie Jarvis shows herself to be a brute force from the beginning, a feisty actress who plays Mia, a young, naive 17-year-old who puts on a front of anger to hide her loneliness (hence the name Fish Tank), she feels as if she’s trapped in a gold-fish bowl. The first scenes of the film show Mia’s relationship with her mother (played by Kierston Wareing). Its clear from the beginning that their relationship is not, and never has been an easy one. And as the film develops, their friendship (or lack of) gets all the more worse. The first scenes also show Mia’s passion of dancing, her love for a horse owned by travellers, and her alienation from almost everyone she knows.
As the film develops Michael Fassbender is introduced. He plays the role of Connor, Mia’s mum’s new boyfriend. To begin with he seems like everything the family needs to be happy – he takes them out, makes them laugh and ultimately plays the role of a father. However sadly this can’t last, and as the film comes to a close you see why.
Fish Tank is a master film which highlights and shows off Britain’s most talented actors, producers and cinematographers, and most importantly a star director who takes a simple story and makes it an incredible watch. Fish Tank was not shown in many theatres, but it did win a BAFTA for Best British Film (2009) which shows Britain has a big market, and strong love for independent films that deserve to be as hyped about as Hollywood blockbusters.