The Annihilation of Fish (2000)
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Charles Burnett directed this offbeat comic romance about a pair of aging eccentrics whose imaginary companions sometimes interfere with their "real" lives. Fish (James Earl Jones) is an elderly Jamaican expatriate who has spend much of his adult life in a mental institution in New York. One of the clearest manifestations of Fish's madness is Hank, an imaginary nemesis whom Fish must often beat until he obeys. After he's released, Fish heads to Los Angeles, where he takes a room in a boarding house run by Mrs. Muldroone (Margot Kidder). Living across the hall from Fish is Poinsetta (Lynn Redgrave), an older woman who may be crazier than Fish: she drinks a great deal, loves to listen to Puccini, and is convinced that the long-dead composer is following her around (and is in love with her). In time, Fish and Poinsetta become friends and then lovers, but when she accidentally "kills" Hank, Fish is suddenly robbed of one of the only constants in his life. The Annihilation of Fish was screened in the 1999 Toronto Film Festival. … More
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Critic Reviews for The Annihilation of Fish
The romantic comedy avoids the trap of being cloyingly cute, winning us over to the appealingly daffy world view of its two wonderful stars.
[Burnett] creates a dreamily solid world where in Jones' heroic sweetness can flourish, and Redgrave and Kidder can disappear into their roles with a dazzling, playful intensity.
It's a small, graceful movie, and one of the beauties of it is imagining moviegoers tromping into Minneapolis' Parkway Theater to see it and -- for a couple of hours, at least -- forgetting their own feelings of loneliness.
Burnett has crafted a poignant, utterly believable film out of the most unlikely of set-ups.
There are few comic staples less convincing or more timeworn than charming lunatics in love, and the only thing that lifts this film beyond TV-movie quality is Jones' performance.
A guaranteed crowd-pleaser, no doubt due to the fine performances from Jones (other than his poor accent) and Redgrave.
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