Jarvis gives a ferociously persuasive performance in an otherwise routine tale of domestic disaster.
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What are critics saying?
Fish tank may begin as a patch of lower-class chaos, but it turns into a commanding, emotionally satisfying movie, comparable to such youth-in-trouble classics as "The 400 Blows." [18 Jan. 2010, p. 83]
New York Magazine (Vulture) by David Edelstein
Arnold's first feature, "Red Road" (2006), centers on another outsider, a woman who monitors security cameras. The film is formally brilliant, but it doesn't have the breathtaking openness of Fish Tank.
A grimy kitchen-sink melodrama with an Ajax cleanser script: The muck is all surface, the turmoil cleanly shallow and contrived, though never less than gripping.
Entertainment Weekly by Lisa Schwarzbaum
The amazingly natural first-timer was discovered, in a gift of publicity-ready truth, while having an argument with her boyfriend at a train station.
In that way, Jarvis is a lot like Arnold: an artist who knows the steps, but doesn't yet have all the moves.
The Hollywood Reporter by Ray Bennett
The film belongs to Jarvis, however, and she makes the most of it with expressive features that convey Mia's mixed-up emotions from raging temper to sweet vulnerability. She will go far.
Really interesting to watch this film before American Honey. Arnold provides an unflinching look at class divides, without trying to ascribe a moral narrative; each shot is treated with the same thoughtful and meticulous care.