Episode 7 – Little Fish

Perhaps Cate Blanchett’s least seen film, at least in the United States, Litte Fish (2005) is gritty and scrappy and unlike anything in her filmography.

HostMurtada Elfadl, some of Murtada’s film writing can be found here.

Guest : Valerie Complex some of Valerie’s writing can be found here.

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  • What is the film about?

From imdb: Set in the Little Saigon district outside of Sydney, a woman (Blanchett) trying to escape her past becomes embroiled in a drug deal.

  • What year did it come out?

2005.

  • Who does Cate play?

 Tracy Louise Heart, a former heroin addict who is desperately trying to escape her past and achieve her goals and dreams. 

  • How is Cate introduced?

 A minute in; fully dressed under water in a pool- striking image.

 Box Office: Domestic = $8,148   Int’l = $ 3,240, 358.

Metacritic: 77. Tomato Meter: 90.

littl efish22

Topics discussed:

  •  A gritty Cate movie, unlike anything else she’s done. Why hasn’t she done more like this? 
  • One of the very few Australian movie she’s made- others include Thank God He Met Lizzie and Oscar and Lucinda (both released in 1997 before her international breakout Elizabeth). Shot Truth in Australia with a largely Australian cast and crew though the story and production were American.
  • Blanchett in 2005 post her Oscar win.
  • Sexy romantic Blanchett – who does she have chemistry with and why? She has it in spades with Dustin Nguyen in this film.
  • Queer Sam Neil and Hugo Weaving and the queer undertones of the story.

Scenes we liked:          

  • The ending is dreamy and optimistic despite tragedy.
  • Everytime Tracy/Cate deals with authority (at the bank, at Jonny’s place of work).
  • “Flame Trees” children’s choir after Tracy buys drugs for the first time in many years.

What seemed off:

  •  The thriller elements are not entirely satisfying but the actors are superb.

catekate1

Film within context of Cate’s career:

  • The first film released post her first Oscar win for The Aviator. 
  • Though it didn’t register and seems a blip in her career now.

Film within the context of year it’s been released:

  • Hardly released in the US, for only week in limited release.

What reviews said of Cate/the film:

To sink or to swim: that is the question. In “Little Fish,” Cate Blanchett does both. The great Australian actress sinks into the role Tracy Heart, a 32-year-old recovering drug addict who manages a video store in Cabramatta, a Sydney suburb nicknamed Little Saigon for its large Vietnamese population and known as the heroin capital of Australia. As in all her screen performances, Ms. Blanchett immerses herself completely in her character, a damaged, high-strung woman determined to live the straight life while surrounded by temptation.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times. 

 “The actors are terrific, especially Weaving, who plays bottoming out as a tragedy spiked with gallows humor, and Blanchett, who digs deep into the booby-trapped nature of recovery. The revelation, however, is Rowan Woods, a major filmmaker in the making.” – Owen Gleiberman, EW.

“The title, one supposes, refers both to the small packages of drugs the characters deal in and to the people themselves. They’re victims and survivors in a larger predatory world. Two related images run through the film – swimming and the seaside. Tracy is liberated by her daily sessions in a swimming pool (where her old love for Johnny is rekindled), and the family is drawn together at last during a purifying visit to the beach at dawn.” – Philip French, The Guardian.

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