Film Review: “Little Fish” (2020)

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Our memory can play tricks on us as we age. We may end up forgetting our loved ones because our brain is no longer able to return the images it previously could. But what will happen in times of global pandemic, when even a young one loses their memory? It is painful for those who are lost and for those who still remember. There is no definitive answer except for “Little Fish”, that is sure to blow your mind away.

Jude (Jack O`Connell) and Emma (Olivia Cooke) were meant to be together. They meet each other at the beach. She is sad but does not remember why, which the voiceover Emma confesses to the audience. A little spark in them turns into fire. They get married and promise to be together until death does them apart. But when a global pandemic starts, wiping out people’s memory, the two must do their best to fulfil their oath – to be together during health and sickness. But will Jude and Emma keep their promise? Can they control their lives in the face of an incurable disease? Only time will tell, but so does “Little Fish”.

Screenplay by Mattson Tomlin and directed by Chad Hartigan, “Little Fish” is a sci-fi romantic drama filmed with heart and soul and filled with deeply moving performances by Olivia Cooke as Emma and Jack O’Connell as Jude, and supported by Raul Castillo as Ben and Solo as Samantha. As soon as the film starts, we realize how sad it is for Emma to narrate her story. As the story unfolds through the romantic relationship of Emma and Jude, the woman makes comprehensive notes of the day she got married to Jude, and all other important memories to help Jude to remember her.

It’s absolutely devastating to watch as Emma scrambles to help the love of her life overcome memory loss. As she says at some point, “how can we build the future, if we need to rebuild the past,” is the crux of the narrative of the film, which is about rebuilding the past that at times feels like an important task to complete. As for Cooke and O’Connell, there is nothing more any actor could do to beat their performances. They are sublime and engaging, as you can tell, fully committed to portraying their character to the level where you will feel for them, worry for them, and even cheer for them even when there is no hope for them.

That said, not every film has the power to grab your attention quickly; slowly prepare you for something big. And when you think it nears the end and you are almost done, it tears you apart into millions of pieces, leaving you broken-hearted, devastated yet mesmerized by its beauty. It’s an excellent pandemic love story that will take a piece of you with it, as soon as it’s over. You will be hanging in front of your small or big screen, trying to understand what is it you just watched, perhaps not realizing you will be pressed to select the option, ‘play again’.to start watching it from the beginning again. That is what makes “Little Fish” so perfect – its end is just a beginning you be left with no choice but to replay it in a different way, in your imagination.

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