Fish Tank - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Fish Tank Reviews

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David Denby
New Yorker
July 7, 2010
Fish Tank may begin as a patch of lower-class chaos, but it turns into a commanding, emotionally satisfying movie, comparable to such youth-in-trouble classics as The 400 Blows.
Top Critic
July 4, 2010
A bold new entry in the long-standing British tradition of disquieting social realism.
Full Review | Original Score: 9.7/10
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
March 18, 2010
The characters are guarded, and as we come to understand them scene by scene, they become ever harder to sort into convenient categories of hero and villain.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Tom Long
Detroit News
March 5, 2010
Writer-director Andrea Arnold, working in British lower-class realism, still finds wondrous moments of connection in Mia's life.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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David Germain
Associated Press
March 5, 2010
Writer-director Andrea Arnold has created something so real and raw, you may come away with a twinge of guilty voyeurism, a sense of peering too closely and impolitely into other people's lives.
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
March 4, 2010
Katie Jarvis has a natural presence that matches the unsentimental minimalism of the film.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
February 26, 2010
The film swims in an anguish not solely the result of Mia's coming of age -- and yet, it surfaces for air in ways compelling and uncompromising.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
February 26, 2010
In the film's dark final third, it's as if we've entered a waking nightmare, with stop-and-start rhythms as Mia takes one wrong step after another.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
February 19, 2010
Fish Tank, which won the 2009 Jury Prize in Cannes, has moments when Mia's tribulations really hit home.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
February 19, 2010
To the script's credit, when the climax comes it feels inevitable yet surprising too -- that ideal combination.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Peter Howell
Toronto Star
February 19, 2010
In a year less crowded with new young talent, Katie Jarvis might now be getting fittings for her Oscar nomination dress.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
February 11, 2010
Fish Tank digs around in its protagonist's psyche, unafraid to explore. It's oppressive and claustrophobic, confused and scary in there. But it's also compellingly real.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
February 11, 2010
Watching Fish Tank is, as the title implies, like gazing through the glass of an aquarium at the lives of those trapped within, whose only chance of escape would seem to be through death and the indignity of being flushed down a toilet.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
February 8, 2010
Unfolds as a conventional coming-of-age story, yet Andrea Arnold hasn't altered her persuasively jaundiced view of men, who seem as pitifully helpless against their horndog urges as the women foolish enough to care for them.
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
February 5, 2010
Jarvis, whom the director reportedly discovered at an Essex train station, is nothing less than a revelation in a performance that is tender, spiky and utterly fearless in its physical and emotional range.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Michael Phillips
Chicago Tribune
February 4, 2010
A remarkable downer-upper paradox: a bruising tale of teenage resilience, honest and emotionally complicated and alive.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
February 4, 2010
Arnold sees everything through Mia's eyes and never steps outside to explain things from any other point of view. She knows who the young girl is, and we are left to assume.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/4
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Betsy Sharkey
Los Angeles Times
January 29, 2010
The brilliant power of the film comes from the gritty reality Arnold creates.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
January 28, 2010
As it stands, Fish Tank is a valuable movie, though it aspires to a social insight it doesn't attain and a psychological penetration it won't maintain.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
January 28, 2010
Jarvis' debut performance is a bracingly authentic revelation. She was discovered by filmmakers in a train station as she fought with her boyfriend, and brings just the right blend of feisty forcefulness and awkward tenderness to the part.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
January 28, 2010
With a bare minimum of dialogue - none of which I can print - Arnold establishes Mia's barren environment and the hope and fury that war beneath the surface of the girl's skin.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Michael Phillips
At the Movies
January 25, 2010
This is disturbing stuff, [but] unexpectedly hopeful in its outlook.
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
January 22, 2010
Fish Tank is a coming-of-age story for Mia, who will at least have a shot at happiness, and a coming-into-mastery story for the writer-director, Ms. Arnold, whose prospects seem limitless.
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
January 15, 2010
The contradictions of adolescence have rarely been conveyed with such authenticity and force.
| Original Score: 4.5/5
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V.A. Musetto
New York Post
January 15, 2010
Fish Tank is grim, to be sure, but it leaves us with a feeling of hopefulness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Cary Darling
Dallas Morning News
January 15, 2010
The film has won a theater full of awards overseas, including Outstanding British Film at the BAFTA Film Awards and the Jury Prize at Cannes. Fish Tank deserves to do equally as well on this side of the pond.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
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Dana Stevens
Slate
January 14, 2010
Instead of shutting down the film's meaning, the sex scenes open it up -- a gambit that will no doubt offend some viewers with its unsentimental candor.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
January 14, 2010
Katie Jarvis, 18, hits you like a shot in the heart with her sensational breakout performance. And cheers to director Andrea Arnold, who flies on her own unerring instincts.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Noel Murray
AV Club
January 14, 2010
The movie is unusually sensitive to the ways young people pick up their cues on how to act like adults, and how awkwardly they practice what they've learned.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
January 13, 2010
In freeing her young star's physicality in Fish Tank, Arnold also demonstrates one way a girl might learn to swim up and out.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
January 13, 2010
I'm telling you here and now to seek out Fish Tank, either at a big-city theater or via VOD, because it's absolute dynamite.
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Rex Reed
New York Observer
January 13, 2010
Ms. Arnold's chief talent is the way she makes us understand and even sympathize with both their flaws and attributes. The people in Fish Tank are neither good nor bad, but merely human, with elements of both.
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Ella Taylor
Village Voice
January 12, 2010
The movie turns stiff and pat, leaving us manipulated by Arnold's desire to give her hapless heroine the worst life she can think of, followed by a great escape.
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David Edelstein
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 11, 2010
The final scenes have a transcendent mixture of hope and sadness. I've never seen anything like Mia's final dance, or the leave-taking with her little sister that follows.
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Mike D'Angelo
AV Club
May 16, 2009
I'm just having trouble comprehending the fuss being made in other quarters, because this film is awfully familiar-basically just a contemporary gloss on the classic British kitchen sink/angry young (wo)man drama.
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Leslie Felperin
Variety
May 14, 2009
What makes pic feel special is its unflinching honesty and lack of sentimentality or moralizing, along with assured direction and excellent perfs.
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Ray Bennett
Hollywood Reporter
May 14, 2009
A gripping, naturalistic, portrait of a disaffected teenager. A Striking film with vivid performances.
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Dave Calhoun
Time Out
May 14, 2009
A film that brilliantly and sensitively buzzes with life and offers its very own take on our world and our city. It delivers in spades attitude, humour, sadness, love, anger and hope.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5