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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars depressing and unpredictable - 2 of my favorite things in a movie
I saw this dvd in the previewed section at Blockbuster, not knowing what it was really about. But my admiration for Blanchett and Neill compelled me to buy it, and I'm glad that I did.

Blanchett's character, Tracy, is trying to get her life back together post drug addiction, but society is slow to forgive a bad, broken-down history. One of my favorite scenes...
Published on July 23, 2006 by Leslie Thompson

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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Slow but entertaining
Little fish is about a woman trying to escape her past and get on with her life. Tracey, a former heroin addict, finds it hard to break her shackles and find her independance that she so desperately wants. Being in her 30's, still living with her mum and brother dealing with the return of her ex-boyfriend after a 4 year abscense and trying to help her drug addicted step...
Published on November 14, 2006 by Nate


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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars depressing and unpredictable - 2 of my favorite things in a movie, July 23, 2006
By 
Leslie Thompson (a mid-atlantic state, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Little Fish (DVD)
I saw this dvd in the previewed section at Blockbuster, not knowing what it was really about. But my admiration for Blanchett and Neill compelled me to buy it, and I'm glad that I did.

Blanchett's character, Tracy, is trying to get her life back together post drug addiction, but society is slow to forgive a bad, broken-down history. One of my favorite scenes is when she's at the bank and shoves the loan officer's photographs of her children onto the floor, smashing the glass all over the place. Another time she breaks something is at the restaurant, where she finds Jonny with his family. The violent outbursts are certainly in line with her character (understandable, I mean - not excusable). She's frustrated, trying to get money for her business, and turned down (though it is very understandable why the bank would do that, as most financial institutions aren't too keen on the risk of lending to someone who's on their "second chance" at anything). Also, she gives her old boyfriend Jonny a second chance, but he ends up deceiving her.

I appreciated how the movie as a whole was unpredictable with great character studies (although I wish Sam Neill's character had a larger role). In the dvd special features section, Blanchett says that she loved how the movie centered on 30 year olds who weren't "cool" because they didn't know what they were doing with their lives, still living with parents - and most movies ignore those kind of people and the struggles they face.

The end kind of leaves you hanging. The beach part was beautiful, though I hated seeing the bug near Lionel's eye.

Really sad music, too. I loved the karaoke bits, and the song that was playing in the beginning at the reunion dance party, as well as the song that the children sang. I don't think I can reproduce the lyrics here, but the song is quite intriguing and fits with the movie so well. It's called "Flame Trees."
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Superb Film From Australia, April 13, 2006
By 
This review is from: Little Fish (DVD)
Writer Jacqueline Perske and Director Rowan Woods chalk up another successful Australian film in LITTLE FISH, an intense, very personal drama about how illegal drugs affect communities, families and individuals. The story begs patience from the viewer as it is gratefully one that does not spell everything out for the viewer, but instead introduces the characters slowly and with hints of backgrounds that bring them to the moments of crisis the timeframe of the film uses.

Taking place in the Little Saigon area of Sydney, Tracy Heart (Cate Blanchett) is a recovered junkie who lives with her mother Janelle (Noni Hazlehurst) and partial amputee brother Ray (Martin Henderson), each trying to make ends meet in a life previously destroyed by drug addiction. Tracy has been clean for four years, works in a video store but has dreams of owning her own business, dreams that are thwarted by banks refusing to give her business loans solely on the basis of her previous addiction. Ray, his amputated leg the result of a car accident somehow connected with drugs, still sells heroin in 'little fish' containers, occasionally calling upon Tracy to make pickups and deliveries. The now absent stepfather Lionel (Hugo Weaving) fights his own addiction both to drugs and to his dealer Brad (Sam Neill) with whom he has been in a gay relationship since his divorce from Janelle. Tracy tries to support Lionel's attempts to kick his habit, but the attempts are failures. Everything comes to a head when 1) Tracy is desperate without her needed bank loan, 2) Tracy's Vietnamese ex-lover Jonny (Dustin Nguyen) returns from Vancouver where his family sent him to avoid the persecution of rehab in Sydney, 3) Brad retires leaving Lionel without a source of drugs or love and Lionel is replaced by a quasi-normal Steven (Joel Tobeck) who kicks the last part of the film into a spin. There are no solutions to anyone's problems: things just happen and the characters respond in the best way they can with the ominous cloud of drug addiction shading their lives and futures.

The script is terse and smart and the direction is relentlessly realistic and well paced. Cate Blanchett gives a sterling portrayal of the very complex Tracy, and Hugo Weaving, Noni Hazelhurst, Sam Neill, Dustin Nguyen, and Martin Henderson are superb. This is a tough little film that does not fear to examine the truth about the effect of drugs on people's lives and spirits. It is a very fine film. Recommended. Grady Harp, April 06
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another astounding performance from Australia's Queen Kate..., April 11, 2006
This review is from: Little Fish (DVD)
Sydney is awash in illegal drugs, at least that's the impression one gets when watching the difficult new Cate Blanchett film Little Fish. Directed by Rowan Woods, the film is not only a vehicle for showcasing the wonderful Queen Kate at her very best, but shows a very gritty, desperate side of the Sydney drug scene, far from the glamorous party world of the inner-city.

The story centers on Tracy Heart (Blanchett), a 32-year-old recovering drug addict who manages a video store in the working class Western Sydney suburb of Cabramatta. Tracy's an insecure, restless and watchful girl, who is anxious to get on with her life. After four year working as the manager of the video store, her boss wants her to buy it and expand it by offering Internet access.

But her druggie past constantly haunts her and because of her record of credit-card fraud during her days on heroin, her applications for a bank loan are summarily rejected. And although Tracy has been clean for a number of years, the physical and emotional detritus from the bad old days surrounds her. She refuses to break her connections to bad-boy Lionel Dawson (Hugo Weaving), a former Australian football star and family friend who introduced her to heroin in the first place and who is still using.

Lionel is ex-lover of the local drug kingpin, Brad Thompson (Sam Neill). Brad is also Lionel's supplier and the local resident evil bad boy. After announcing that he's about to retire from the business, Lionel is thrown into a panic and in desperation turns to Tracy to supply him with his fix. But Tracy also has to contend with the arrival of former boyfriend and co-junkie, Jonny (Dustin Nguyen), a lithe and deceptively charismatic Vietnamese Australian who has ostensibly returned to Sydney from Vancouver to work as a stockbroker, but has darker motives and a hidden agenda.

Completing the foursome is Tracy's brother (Martin Henderson), who lost his leg in a mysterious car accident, and has begun selling vials of heroin, "little fish" in local pubs and clubs. Tracy's mother Janelle (a fabulous Noni Hazlehurst) is fiercely protective of her daughter and is concerned that she might start using again, and she becomes even more concerned when Jonny turns up at their house, re-igniting the old romantic spark between them.

Little Fish is an opaque, enigmatic and cryptic film, which at first glance is not easily accessible - like the pool where Tracy constantly swims, everything is hidden under the surface and it takes awhile for the plot to kick in. In the meantime, we are introduced to this eclectic cast of characters that populate Tracy's bedraggled and fractured world. Obviously whether Tracy will start using again is part of the dramatic intent, but the film is also interested in exploring the often complicated and conflicted relationships existing amongst the characters.

While all the performances are superlative - particularly Hugo Weaving as the emaciated, and beaten-down Lionel - Little Fish is really Ms. Blanchett's film. She fully embodies Kate's frustrations and anger at the world and her impatience to remake herself - to get the break that she so desperately craves for. And her portrayal of a damaged and highly-strung woman so desperate to live a "straight" life, free from the temptations of heroin is formidable.

Little Fish is a sober and beautifully played film. It's honest and uncompromising and it doesn't offer any easy answers to the problems of heroin and the day-today struggles of ex-junkies. The urge to use is always there for Kate, and the fact that she's willing to lie on her bank loan application indicate that old habits die-hard.

The cycle of secrecy and deceit is still there and can remain long after the actual habit has been kicked, proving that the drug can still have a vice-like grip on those who stay around it long after they've stopped using. Mike Leonard April 06.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Gem From Australia, February 8, 2013
By 
Harry O (Leavenworth, KS United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Little Fish (DVD)
This is a tough little Australian film that stays with you long after it is over. Cate Blanchett is, as expected, excellent. Hugo Weaving is a fine actor, and has certainly appeared in his share of blockbuster hits (The Matrix trilogy, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy), but it is in his Australian films (Proof, The Adventures Of Priscilla Queen Of The Desert, The Last Ride, etc.) that he really gets to shine, and in Little Fish he gives one of his best performances. The story doesn't sensationalize drug use or provide a stereotyped look at kicking the habit with florid scenes of characters going cold turkey. Instead it focuses in on a woman who has already kicked the habit, but still has to live with the consequences of having been a user in the past. This is what gives the film its humanity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Shiny shiny girl, March 16, 2011
By 
This review is from: Little Fish (DVD)
I had withdrawal symptoms, hadn't watched a Cate Blanchett movie in years. Must be because she has a real job now, at a Sydney theatre, rather than making flimsy movies for more money than she can possibly earn now.

This woman is one of the best. Here she gives us a credible 32 y old depressed struggling woman in Sydney. She is a manager in a video shop and wants to become a partner by injecting money for an expansion of the business. She can't get a loan due to her credit reports.
She has a younger brother who is a drug dealer. She has a former boyfriend who is a drug dealer. Her father, not in the picture, possibly dead, was a junkey. There is an ex-stepfather (Hugo Weaving), or rather she is friends with her mother's ex-boyfriend, who is a junkey and a former rugby star and a sometimes lover of the local big man in the drugs distribution (Sam Neil). This 'old man' (must be 50 at least, imagine that) is badly losing it, he can't afford his habit any more, but he can't stand the rehab. The only thing that he can do is reminisce about good old times on the beach with his shiny shiny girl, and look forward into the abyss.
You get the picture. We get a slow, convincing, impressive snapshot at a depressing life style. Big fish and little fish normally swim in different parts of the water. Sometimes their paths cross and that can't be good for the little ones.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a hidden gem, May 1, 2007
This review is from: Little Fish (DVD)
I totally disagree with the reviewer who said this is a waste of time.

I bought this as a previewed dvd from Blockbuster as I love Cate so much. During the first 5-10 minutes of the film I was a little confused as to who the characters were and what the relationships were between them. But I think that makes for an interesting film...not the same old predictable movies that Hollywood seems to be making these days...soon enough you start to piece together how these characters are related to one another.

Cate and Hugo both give outstanding performances and the whole cast is excellent. I also like the fact that it is an Australian film and the film takes you to a place you might not otherwise have experienced.

I was so interested to learn more about the background of this film that I listened to the director's commentary got a great insight into the plot and the acting.

Cate continues to impress me as one of the best actresses around and this is not a waste of time in my opinion. It's a haunting and poignant film and I just cannot get it out of my head...it stays with you long after you've seen it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cate Blanchett is a Winner, July 12, 2014
By 
I think I have seen all of Cate Blanchett movies. No matter what she is in and the character played, she is superb. It's hard for me to pay attention to the other stars when she is in a movie because of how she outshines them all. I did think the story was a little weak.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Disturbingly Honest, August 11, 2006
This review is from: Little Fish (DVD)
Brilliant and disturbingly honest

Cate Blanchett gives a sterling performance as Tracy Heart, a young woman struggling to reinvent herself beyond her drug-related, criminal past by managing a local video store.

But Heart is tied to, and trapped in her past, partly by circumstance (her heroin addicted father and alcoholic mother) and partly by a series of her own bad choices. Her inner and outer struggles; the battle between doing what is best for her versus what she wants (ex boyfriend Johnny) which put her constantly in a state of limbo, swimming to nowhere. Her desire for a future combined with her inability to get a bank loan to get started; wanting more, wanting better, to do better and have better, yet her inherently tragic, drug-laden environment continues to ensnarl her despite her best efforts to stay clean. The constant self-sabotage even as she helps others - and not knowing how to help herself--make her the beautifully complex, tragic character we can all identify with.

The fractured life of Tracy Heart is echoed beautifully in the smashing of the photographs of children, the breaking glass, the breaking vase, the constant breaking - everything is breaking down around her, and her sad, broken and dysfunctional life leads her back to the only place where she can find peace and serenity; the swimming pool. The swimming serves as another poetically sharp contrast to the madness of her drug-infected life, swimming back and forth, back forth, going nowhere.

Blanchett is outstanding, and her ability to capture the inner complexities of Tracy Heart is a truly memorable performance right to the end - and then she returns to her childhood beach, and to happier, less complicated days, where we see her bring her father to rest, with a fly on his face.
Come to think of it, we are all little fish, really, swimming in a great big pond, trying to make sense of it all.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Swims with the big fish admirably, May 27, 2009
By 
Ian (Canberra Australia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Little Fish (DVD)
This movie is as the best Australian movies tend to be,in your face,unflinching and with a realism that holds onto you long after it has ended.
I am an Australian who lives in America and i really wish that more movies here tackled issues no matter how distasteful or life affirming in this manner.
There are fine movies made here to be sure,but so many swap realism for a cutout or so called sexier version of it.
The performances by Blanchett and the rest of the cast are great.
Nothing is overused or watered down in the many scenes that while on the surface appearing mundane are loaded with venom or longing like the drug the movie is centered around.
The spareness of scenes like tracy back at the train station scoring then stumbling past the children's choir singing an anthen like version of Cold Chisel's Flame trees is so full of longing that i could almost feel myself thinking of situations and times in my own life.
If you like reality that hurts like life does at times watch this and it will remind you that movies that confront reality make understanding yourself that little bit easier.
Ian.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A movie movie moviaih, February 27, 2014
This review is from: Little Fish (Amazon Instant Video)
It was ok sorta weird did not really understand it all the whole drug deal situation or how exactly it came to its conclusion but I was not all that invested in the film and I had no idea what drug they were dealing maybe meth? Everyone was on heroin I dunno with the limited free movies this one was better then most at least it was not a college film project like most the free tittles they offer for my prime money :(
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