Movie Review: Little Fish
by Julie Perez
Sure, it may seem masochistic to watch a film about a pandemic while right in the middle of one, yet I found Little Fish extremely comforting. We meet Jude and Emma in the middle of a global pandemic: Neuroinflammatory Affliction is the disease. NIA is a condition much like Alzheimer’s as the main symptom is that it destroys your memory. The condition appears in two ways: you either slowly lose yourself or instantly forget everything. A terrifying premise, yet Director Chad Hartigan found a way to ground this film in love.
A visually-stunning film that fluctuates between recapping Emma and Jude’s relationship and present-time, Little Fish feels like a love letter. Hartigan beautifully captures the intimate moments in a relationship that at some points, it’s almost as if the audience is intruding. Olivia Cooke (Emma Ryerson) and Jack O’Connell (Jude Williamson) shine on the screen, which is great since the film is fully reliant on the chemistry between them. The magic between the two is what pulls you in and forces you to become invested instantly.
This film will have you doubting yourself. Since it gives you details about the disease quite quickly and immediately asks you to rely on Emma’s memories about how she fell in love with Jude, you’ll feel unsure about many things throughout the film. There is no doubt that a feeling of gratitude for your memories will quickly wash over you. Little Fish is being released at a time when so many of us are away from our families, serving as a gentle reminder of the hurdles we are willing to go through to get the people we love some help (WEAR A MASK!). We see this manifested as Emma signs Jude up for a clinical trial when his memories start fading. Olivia Cooke plays the desperation and helplessness beautifully.
Little Fish will break your heart in the gentlest of ways. It happens when we see Jude disappear in front of us, the panic that Emma goes through is palpable. Thankfully, we are wrapped in their love right as we try to catch our breath after seeing him forget which apartment is his. It’s their love and the way it unravels that will have you thinking of this film for weeks.
Raúl Castillo, who plays Ben, deserves an honorable mention. If there is one thing that you can count on Raúl Castillo for, it’s that he will always give you an emotionally-riveting performance. Though his scenes are sporadic and short-lived, his impact won’t be easy to forget. His performance will twist you up in ways that you are unprepared for.
Little Fish will move you and make you ache for the people you haven’t seen in the last year. In these moments, where we heavily rely on our memories from life before 2020, this film comes as a wonderful surprise. Chad Hartigan created magic on that screen and with the help of Olivia Cooke and Jack O’Connell he told an unshakeable story. I urge you to watch this film because it’s a perfect reminder of the love that exists all around us. Little Fish will be released on February 5th.