Imagine waking up and not recognising your partner lying next to you. Imagine walking home from work and not remembering which front door is your own. Little Fish makes this a reality.
Written by Becca Johnson
Following a married couple Emma and Jude living in a world where a pandemic has broken out that causes victims to lose their memories. Their lives become considerably harder when Jude contracts the disease, leaving it down to Emma to try and make their memories live on and hold onto their love.
Little Fish, though based on a pandemic, is an extremely quiet and relaxing watch. Director Chad Hartigan has paid attention to the small details, allowing beautiful cinematography and a calming score to shine through to create an effective and powerful experience. There aren't many shifts in tone, there is no big climax and the film is very steadily paced, but I think this works in the favour of the story-telling. It allows us to bond with our characters and settle into the story, almost like the audience is going through it alongside these two characters.
If the audience couldn’t believe in the love between Emma and Jude this certainly wouldn’t work. Luckily, Jack O'Connell and Olivia Cooke give career-best performances, demonstrating perfect chemistry and creating likeable characters, whether they're together or apart. It's impossible to not root for them and their love, which is where the movie manages to tug on the heart-strings and create an emotional impact. There are also admirable side performances from Raul Castillo and SoKo, who play Ben and Samantha, Emma and Jude's friends, Ben being the first of the group to contract the disease.
The film could have easily fallen into dull, drab and depressing territory, especially given our current circumstances, yet the script ensures the audience remain optimistic even though we know how events are likely to play out. It undeniably goes for the heart-breaking and emotional approach showing the negative side of the disease, yet as a whole it is an uplifting piece of film making that focuses on the importance of love and life experience. Many will not like the ending but it's hard to shake the warm feeling that it gives.
As a whole, Little Fish may become a divisive watch, as it ambles along without a huge climax or tonal shift, but those who appreciate the slower and more character-driven style of experience will definitely find solace here. Criticisms can be made about the pacing, especially the third act which often feels fairly slow and drawn out, and the non-linear narrative has the potential to cause confusion. However, as a romance movie with a modern and unique twist, Little Fish works well.