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Parents' Guide to

Little Fish

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

Thought-provoking pandemic romance has smoking, language.

Movie NR 2021 101 minutes
Little Fish Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

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Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: Not yet rated
Kids say: Not yet rated

This drama rises above other "sick flick" romances: It's a beautiful, existential tale that finds new territory to mine about the nature and extent of love and identity. Who are we, if not our experiences? If we can't remember those experiences, then truly, who are we at our core? And if we don't have these shared experiences with our loved ones, that what is our relationship? While these deep philosophical questions rise, the story doesn't feel like a mental wallop, and it isn't mired in trying to make a statement. Instead, it plays like a lovely love story in what might be considered a horror film if it wasn't so close to the global pandemic experience of 2020. (For instance, when a doctor posts a DIY virus treatment on YouTube that involves penetrating the brain, viewers are more likely to think "yup, that would totally happen" than to experience shock.)

Little Fish actually began production in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic was even a glimmer in anyone's eye. The effect of the filmmakers not knowing then what we know now makes it amazingly predictive in some ways -- and in others, it distracts. For example, the virus is rampant, yet no one wears masks on the street, which may be jarring. Even more disruptive are the stacked flashbacks, which some viewers may find too confusing to follow. The ending, in particular, will likely require some discussion. But the floating memory technique is a clever, creative one for this particular story, and mostly, it works. Little Fish is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets The Notebook with a 2020s sensibility that will connect with today's teens.

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