Little Fish

Fiercely loose and less ragged than it first appears, this story of persistent addiction and fragile recovery plays out in Sydney, Australia's blue-collar suburbs and features powerhouse performances by its stars. Thirty-two-year-old Tracy Heart (Cate Blanchett), who wasted her twenties in a heroin haze, has straightened up, moved back in with her protective...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Fiercely loose and less ragged than it first appears, this story of persistent addiction and fragile recovery plays out in Sydney, Australia's blue-collar suburbs and features powerhouse performances by its stars. Thirty-two-year-old Tracy Heart (Cate Blanchett), who wasted her twenties in a heroin haze, has straightened up, moved back in with her protective mother, Janelle (Noni Hazlehurst), and gotten a steady job at a video store in Cabramatta, a heavily Vietnamese neighborhood nicknamed "Little Saigon." What Tracy wants — needs — more than anything is to move forward, to feel that the regimented, drug-free existence for which she traded away a life of vivid highs and unpredictable, if sordid, adventures is worth something. Opportunity knocks when her boss decides to expand his business and invites Tracy to buy in as part owner, but she has no savings; she's spent four years making restitution for the bad checks she wrote back in the bad old days, and no bank will make her a loan. More stress arrives in the form of her ex-boyfriend and partner in smack, Jonny (Dustin Nguyen), who's back in town after a prolonged sojourn as a stockbroker in Canada and wants to rekindle their relationship. Jonny was driving the night a car accident nearly cost Tracy's brother, Ray (Martin Henderson), his life; Ray survived but lost a leg and turned to penny-ante dope-dealing to support himself. And Tracy remains close to Lionel Dawson (Hugo Weaving), the washed-up soccer star who once dated her mother and doted on Ray and Tracy, his "shiny girl"; later she and Lionel were drug buddies, and he remains in thrall both to heroin and his ex-lover, sleekly vicious local crime lord Brad "The Jockey" Thompson (Sam Neill). Tracy's relationships with Jonny, Ray and Lionel are the constants that connect all her lives and helped make her what she is, for better or for worse, but any one of them could be the trigger that drags her back into addiction. The film's title refers both to tiny, fish-shaped vials of liquid heroin and the small fry flitting around the edges of the urban drug scene — damaged goods like Lionel, Tracy, Ray and Jonny. Working from a subtle, perceptive script by Jacqueline Perske, director Rowan Woods — best known in the U.S. for his work on the cult sci-fi series Farscape — weaves a tapestry of pervasive temptation, offhanded betrayal, stunted dreams and small, sweet victories.

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  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Fiercely loose and less ragged than it first appears, this story of persistent addiction and fragile recovery plays out in Sydney, Australia's blue-collar suburbs and features powerhouse performances by its stars. Thirty-two-year-old Tracy Heart (Cate Blan… (more)

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