Little Fish

Little Fish
Cast: Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Sam Neill, Martin Henderson, Noni Hazlehurst, Dustin Nguyen, Joel Tobeck, Lisa McCune, Susie Porter
Director: Rowan Woods
Screenplay: Jacquelin Perske
Genre: Drama
Rated: MA 15+ strong sex scene, coarse language
Running Time: 114 Minutes

Everyone Is Hiding Something.

How do you learn to love again when the pain of the past won't let you go? When you're 32 with a troubled history and a doubtful future, it's a question that isn't so easy to answer. And for Tracy Heart it's a question she can no longer ignore.

After four years of treading water and redeeming herself in the eyes of her family, she has set herself the humble dream of owning her own business.

But the unexpected return of her ex-boyfriend Jonny, the criminal aspirations of her brother Ray and the emotional draw of troubled family friend and ex-footy star Lionel, creates friction for Tracy. Her dream soon becomes tangled with criminal boss, Bradley "The Jockey" Thompson with shattering consequences. As a result, Tracy's bond of trust with her mother Janelle is tested and she has no other option but to confront her fears in order to find happiness.

A story about families. About lies. And about learning to love again.

My Verdict:
32-year-old Tracey Heart (Cate Blanchett) lives with her mother Janelle (Noni Hazlehurst) and works in a video shop in Little Saigon, Sydney. Tracey is an ex heroin addict and is desperately trying to re-build some sort of life for herself, including borrowing money for a business venture, but with a credit card fraud history, no bank will lend her the money. She has one hobby - swimming - but apart from that there isn't much more to her life than going to work.

Then Tracey's ex-boyfriend Jonny (Dustin Nguyen) arrives on her doorstep for her amputee brother Ray's (Martin Henderson) 30th birthday and she is forced to reflect on her life. Feelings for Jonny resurface and the two try to rekindle past love. Jonny is meanwhile up to no good, involving wannabe criminal Ray in a last-ditch drug deal, which involves dealings with the aging Mr Big of Sydney's underworld, Bradley "The Jockey" Thompson (Sam Neill), who in turn is still reluctantly involved with the homosexual, heroin addicted, ex-rugby league champion Lionel Dawson (Hugo Weaving), who is also a father figure to Tracey. Over the course of a week, Tracey's life takes unexpected routes, culminating in a tragic finale.

'Little Fish' is about a suburban woman striving to reach a decent future after years of struggling with the hell that encompasses the lifestyle associated with heroin addiction. As Tracey, Cate Blanchett has totally captured the extreme frustration and disappointments that now follow her character. Blanchett certainly is top of the line as far as ability goes, always keeping the audience at a distant in this role as the dissatisfied ex-druggie and deliberately making her character hard to warm to.

Hugo Weaving deserves the highest praise for his role as Lionel Dawson. In a remarkable performance, the almost unrecognisable Weaving is utterly convincing and doesn't even flinch as he kisses Sam Neill's character, which becomes one of the emotional highlights of the entire film.

There is little optimism in 'Little Fish', which does sometimes become tiresome, as the lives of the characters seem to always be teetering on the edge, just waiting to fall over. This sometimes overall doom and gloom scenario could be perceived as depressing, or it could mark the beginning of the end of the miserable lives for the characters as they try to discover how to turn their lives around. Either way, for the most part, 'Little Fish' is a story that could apply to so many and therefore be readily identifiable, but it's a tough road to share and be involved in.

Rating : ***

Christina Bruce