Consider yourself forewarned that this will be the first of many reviews to come on films featuring Michael Fassbender. After seeing him at year’s end in films such as A Dangerous Method and Shame (a stunning, searing performance for which he should have earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination), I have become a full-on Fan (yes, that’s with a capital “F”). I have caught Fassbender Fever…in a big way. And am therefore working my way through his filmography. Yeah, he’s more than easy on the eyes ~ and as some may know, offers plenty of himself on which to feast the eyes (see Shame for full-frontal Fassbender). BUT there is much, much more to this man than just a handsome face (and breathtaking body). He is a terrifically talented actor, who shows great range and has yet to disappoint in anything I’ve seen.
His performance in Fish Tank is no exception. Written and directed by Andrea Arnold, the film won British Film at the 2010 BAFTAs ~ with good reason. It is a unique coming-of-age story centered on Mia, a foul-mouthed, back-talking, rebellious teen who has been kicked out of school and is struggling to find a way out of her stifled, unsupportive home life in a British housing project with a bitter, unloving single mother and feisty younger sister. (Father, whoever he is, is nowhere in sight nor is he ever even mentioned.)
Changes are set in motion when the girls’ mother brings home new boyfriend Connor (Fassbender), who ultimately has a profound effect on each of the women in the family (in various ways and for various reasons), but on no one more so than Mia. It is fascinating to observe the changing dynamics and ripple effects created by Connor’s charismatic presence, which, in the beginning is primarily positive for these women lacking any sort of stable, supportive male figure in their lives. It is Mia’s struggle to differentiate between Connor as a father figure and a man to whom she has a burgeoning attraction, that ultimately proves to be the stimulus for change ~ and growth ~ in Mia’s life.