Friday, February 5, 2021

Movie with Abe: Little Fish

Little Fish
Directed by Chad Hartigan
Released February 5, 2021 (Theaters and VOD)

The notion of forming memories knowing that they’re going to disappear may seem futile to some since they’re not going to last. But it’s a great comparison for life itself, something that does end for each person and lives on only in stories, photographs, and moments remembered by friends, family, and future generations. In fact, people may try harder to make something stick and truly experience it if they know that they won’t have many more opportunities to do so in the future, desperate to do it while they still can.

In this film, there’s a pandemic spreading rapidly throughout the world, but it’s not the one we’re currently experiencing. Instead, it strikes in the form of gradually deteriorating memory. Emma (Olivia Cooke) and Jude (Jack O’Connell) are trying to maintain their relationship shortly after getting married, which becomes considerably more challenging when Jude begins to get sick. They cling to what they have experienced and try to create more positive moments that can help ensure that they won’t lose each other.

This film arrives at a fortuitous time when everyone is going through a version of the same thing around the world and might be able to relate to the concept of couples spending much more time together than they typically might. Yet what this film presents is the opposite of what most have endured, which is an inability to imprint all that time onto something lasting and permanent. It’s a productive thought exercise that most young people probably won’t need to confront until much later in life, and this film pulls off that ambitious depiction of a new normal very effectively.

Cooke and O’Connell are terrific actors who have starred in a number of films over the past few years and demonstrated tremendous rage. They’re considerably more subdued and natural here than in some of those other turns, and make a compelling and believable couple facing an uncertain future. The latest feature film from Chad Hartigan, the writer and director of “This Is Martin Bonner,” another strong character study, is a moving and engaging portrait of human interaction and endurance in the face of irreversible circumstances. The way in which it showcases memory aids and the methods in which Emma and Jude work to isolate details of their shared moments is a particularly haunting aspect of this thought-provoking romance.


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