FISH TANK is a powerful and award-winning British coming of age movie.

It’s currently on Netflix.

This film grabs you immediately and it doesn’t let go.

The movie has gorgeous cinematography, though the setting is British near-poverty.

It shows you the situation a 15-year-old girl grows up in. It shows you the fallacy that all you need is a goal, a positive attitude, and hard work to succeed.

The people who “succeed” in traditional socio-economic definitions of that word, usually, overwhelmingly, are people who have those traits plus money, stable homes, support, love, minimal emotional trauma, motivation, guidance, some formal education, talent, luck, and connections.

Privileged people probably never know that they didn’t do 70% of “their success” themselves and would probably never believe you if you told them that was the fact.

That’s why we need movies like this.

Immerse yourself in someone else’s situation for a couple hours and watch how that worthless philosophy doesn’t work out.

This movie really allows you to feel what it is like to be an angry young teenage girl living in English tenement housing. I believe it created empathy for young people in that scenario in many viewers. It certainly made me empathetic for her in her difficult situation.

This is an electric, alive, you-are-there, handheld camera kind of movie.

It was directed by a woman. That matters. So many of my favorite indie movies were directed by women. From what I’ve seen, women directors understand the emotional dynamics of screen relationships far better than men. Indie film directing just may be a really ideal art form for women.

There are a couple of things in this film that had me feeling emotions I didn’t want to feel.

It’s an unjust, delusional, wicked, transitory, and superficial world, and just being able to portray that fact on a screen provides a certain freedom.

FISH TANK is absolutely excellent.

Curtis Smale