In recent years, there have been a few films dealing with couples or relationships where one of the two has an illness or debilitating disease. Usually, they are sold to the public as young adult films. Little Fish is based on a short story by Aja Gabel and adapted for the screen by Mattison Thomlin. This story seems to be a little close to home considering the times we live in today with COVID-19 still running rampant throughout the world.
This film follows the lives of a couple that met on the beach inadvertently. Olivia Cooke plays a veterinarian married to a photographer played by Jack O’Connell. They live in a world where people are getting a memory loss disease called NIA (Neuro Inflammatory Affliction), which causes people to forget their life, their job, and who they are when they get it. This can be quite alarming to their loved ones, family members, co-workers, and friends
Not exactly like the COVID-19 epidemic, NIA is still a difficult disease to deal with. The tragic events that can be caused by it can be quite tragic. It can affect anybody at any time. The two leads of the film have to deal with it in their own ways. Cooke and O’Connell work very well together. Their relationship seems very genuine. Even when they argue it comes across as realistic. Scenes involving flashbacks help develop this relationship very nicely.
Cooke and O’Connell have had nice careers up until now. They were both in very good films in 2020: Sound of Metal and Jungleland, respectively. In Little Fish, they both have a chance to work on a film that stretches their acting talents even further. This film pushes them into a lot of different emotional states. The film benefits from these two great young actors. Both of their careers have led them to this moment.
Films like Outbreak and Contagion can be compared to Little Fish, but they are more drastic looks at epidemics. Little Fish mainly focuses on this relationship and that’s the strength of the film. How these two married people deal with the disease is the meat and potatoes of this film.
The filmmaking style is nice despite the dramatic events going on in the lives of the main characters. It has a lived-in feel to it that easily brings the audience into the story. It feels like anybody could be these two people. This makes the film that much more accessible, especially during this time we live it today. It looked very nice all the way through, even the flashback scenes.
Little Fish is a stark reminder of the times we live in today, but it also shows how love and caring can help overcome the most difficult times. Chad Hartigan, the director, does an admirable job with this touchy subject matter. He is definitely a filmmaker to watch in the future.
Dan Skip Allen
Founder/EIC disappointment media