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Little Fish (2005) Online

Little Fish (2005) Online
Original Title :
Little Fish
Genre :
Movie / Crime / Drama / Romance / Thriller
Year :
Directror :
Rowan Woods
Cast :
Cate Blanchett,Sam Neill,Hugo Weaving
Writer :
Jacquelin Perske
Type :
Time :
1h 54min
Rating :

Set in the Little Saigon district outside of Sydney, a woman (Blanchett) trying to escape her past becomes embroiled in a drug deal.

Little Fish (2005) Online

In Sydney, Tracey Heart is a thirty-two years old manager of a video shop ex-addicted in heroin and clean for four years. She is trying to raise forty thousand dollars to buy a shop for computer games on the next door of the rental and become partner of her boss, but based on her negative records, the banks deny the loan. Tracey takes care of her junkie stepfather Lionel Dawson, unsuccessfully trying to make him quit his heroin habit. When her former boy-friend Jonny returns from Vancouver, Tracey's mother Janelle fears a fall of Tracey, while she blames Jonny for the car accident where her son Ray lost one leg. When Ray and Jonny associate to Moss, the assistant of the retired criminal boss Bradley 'The Jockey' Thompson, in drug dealing, Tracey is convinced by Jonny to join them and raise the necessary money for her business along the weekend. {locallinks-homepage}
Cast overview, first billed only:
Cate Blanchett Cate Blanchett - Tracy
Sam Neill Sam Neill - The Jockey
Hugo Weaving Hugo Weaving - Lionel
Martin Henderson Martin Henderson - Ray
Noni Hazlehurst Noni Hazlehurst - Janelle
Dustin Nguyen Dustin Nguyen - Jonny
Joel Tobeck Joel Tobeck - Moss
Lisa McCune Lisa McCune - Laura
Susie Porter Susie Porter - Jenny
Nina Liu Nina Liu - Mai
Linda Cropper Linda Cropper - Denise
Daniela Farinacci Daniela Farinacci - Donna
Ferdinand Hoang Ferdinand Hoang - Khiem
Anh Do Anh Do - Tran
Jason Chong Jason Chong - Mingh

A rare glimpse of Hugo Weaving driving a car; even if it is just backing it out of a driveway. He has never owned a driver's license because of his epilepsy. You can see it was him because of his reflection in the side mirror.

One of the characters was originally meant to have been gone for a few years in Hong Kong. However, after shooting, they realized that the actor had a slightly American accent, so changed all references to Hong Kong to Vancouver, Canada.

User reviews



An interesting portrayal of how heroin addiction impacts a cross section of people in suburban Sydney. The "little fish" in the multi-million dollar heroin trade swim around in circles, trying to escape the lives they are stuck with – some with more success than others. Tracy (Cate Blanchett) lives with the legacy of her former addiction, faced with temptation to fall back to her old ways, and constantly hitting a brick wall in her attempts to start her own business and escape her stagnant existence. Blanchett is, of course, strong in her portrayal, which was apparently inspired by her real-life interviews with addicts. The moment when she is tempted to return to her old ways is genuinely disturbing. Noni Hazelhurst is particularly excellent as tormented mum Janelle, desperate to keep her family from sinking, once again, into the mire. Hugo Weaving is convincing in his role has a drug-addled former football hero. His strong performance is boosted by his startling physical transformation. Watch out for Dustin Nguyen, who you might remember from '80s teen cop show 21 Jump Street. His accent is a little confused, which we can probably write off as the result of his character's multi-national background. Although the pic meanders a bit to begin with, taking some time to build up pace, it's a generally satisfying exploration of the underside of life in Sydney suburbia. Some sub-plots work much better than others, but the film is well worth a look, especially if you are a fan of the talented cast who generally shine here.


Rowan Woods' previous film, "The Boys" (1997) had a certain detachment as he examined the psychology of the perpetrators of a particularly nasty crime - watching it was like looking at bugs through a microscope, though it did feature a truly brilliant performance by David Wenham. In this film from a script by Jacqueline Perske he takes a warmer and certainly a lighter look at some rather unprepossessing people living in the south-western suburbs of Sydney - specifically Cabramatta.

Tracey is a former heroin addict, clean for the last four years but with a less than perfect credit record, who is trying to buy a share in the video shop she is working in so she can expand into the internet gaming business (hey, isn't that illegal in Australia?). Her friend Lionel, a former football star and ex-boyfriend of her mother's is still an addict. As she tries unsuccessfully to raise money from some almost comically reluctant financiers she become involved in looking after Lionel, who seems to have a rather close relationship with Jockey, a local hoodlum and drug dealer and his sidekick Steve. Her Vietnamese-Australian ex-boyfriend Johnny suddenly arrives on the scene after four years away and is soon involved in a drug deal with her one-legged (and rather stupid) brother Ray. The "Little Fish" of the title turn out to be those little plastic fish than come with soy sauce inside them in East Asian restaurants, recycled to contain amphetamines, but it could equally describe most of the characters.

It's all very complicated and to be honest the plot is a bit of a monkey puzzle – I have the feeling there might be a few holes in it - but the film is really about the struggle to climb out of the mire. Some make it, others don't; often those who succeed owe their success to chance, others who fail do so despite every effort. Cate Blanchett as Tracey is as good as she has ever been. You may think she is a little genteel for the role, but blot out your memories of "Elizabeth" and she is just fine. Hugo Weaving as Lionel gives a pretty well definitive portrait of a burnt-out heroin addict. Sam Neil as the ruthless Jockey is a little less suave than usual, though his clothes are tailor made and his car a Jaguar. Noni Hazelhurst is all heart as mother (Heart is her surname) and Dustin Nguyen as Johnny, despite the dodgy accent, gets away with playing a person about 10 years younger than he actually is. Martin Henderson is a wonderful dumb Ray.

Perhaps the most impressive feature of the film is the up-close and personal photography (just about every scene looks like it was done with a hand-held camera) combined with some very imaginative fade-in and fade-out. The result is so atmospheric I almost felt the rain and smelled Hugo's lack of aftershave. More to the point, I felt the characters' moods. It was almost like being inside the movie. I very much liked the other recent Oz movie "Look Both Ways" which I saw two weeks ago. It also featured some innovative techniques, but this is a far more sophisticated piece of work.


Director Rowan Woods and his collaborators have crafted a totally absorbing urban drama about complex homosapiens whose lives have been compromised by drugs and various addictions.

Cate Blanchett is Tracy, the film's lynch-pin, a Western suburbs girl whose ambitions to get ahead are thwarted by financial and personal skeletons from her past.

Scribe Jacqueline Perske manipulates a tangled web of characters ranging from Sam Neil's retiring drug baron Brad to Hugo Weaving's failed yuppie junkie Lionel. Noni Hazlehurst, in a riveting performance, plays family matriarch Janelle, a woman so crippled by regret and betrayal, she can hardly stand upright.

The tone is a few degrees lighter than Woods' brilliant "The Boys" and the Cabramatta milieu is broader, but this is still a beautifully balanced character piece with top notch performances and a restrained third act that avoids the usual clichés.

Supporting turns by Susie Porter (as Jenny) and Joel Tobeck (as Moss) are exceptional.

Though some climactic clarity might have been helpful, this is, nevertheless, emotionally graphic and pictorially intense cinema.


Tracy is an ex-heroin junkie how has cleaned up and wants to start a new life in her new store' but she cant finance her new endeavor. Her brother Ray is a speed dealer looking for his big deal, his friend Jonny is an ex-deal who is now a stock-broker. Lionel is looking to go straight, giving up heroin. Tracy's mother Janelle was friends with Lionel but broke off when he gave Tracy Herion. Lionel is also infatuated with Brad, his dealer.

This is a very strong drama, and its been awhile since Australia has made a good drama. The story is a great look at family, friendship, the pain of change and rejection. Jacqueline Perske script is very deep and multi-layered. There are many sub-plots that keep you constantly thinking. Rowan Wood's direction is a step up from his last feature 'The Boys', being more experimental and more unconventional. The cinematography is wonderful, the use of many washes raise the mood and tension to higher levels, tightening the atmosphere of depression.

This has a stellar cast; Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Noni Hazlehurst, Sam Neill, Lisa McCune, Martin Henderson and Dustin Nguyen all give strong performances, not a single flaw in the acting. Blanchett and Weaving give great career performances, Weaving is just brilliant. Hazlehurst brings a performance so shockingly different, this is not the Nomi you know from 'Play School'.

The only thing i felt was wrong with Little Fish is its just abit to long. If it was cut down by ten minutes or so, it would have the pacing more faster and get to the point a lot quicker.

This is a spring board of better things to come out of Australia.


This is an interesting movie, well worth seeing, even though it has substantial failings. Evenness of pace is probably its most debilitating aspect: the slow, steady plod to the climax prevents that climax from being quite as climactic as it should be. Also, the director and his DOP are too in love with the hand-held camera for their own good: too much of it really is irritating, and there is much too much of it in this film. Having said that, there are some wonderful shots and juxtaposition of shots, moving us from warm reds to cool blues and back again. As far as the plot is concerned, the characters are all too neatly slotted into it, emphasising the story's artificiality, which plays against naturalism of the acting, just as the snappy editing plays against the hand-held camera-work. .Compare and contrast THE USUAL SUSPECTS, which is so wonderfully artificial throughout that its story's twists, turns and games, and the theatrical turns from most of its cast add up to something very entertaining. LITTLE FISH, in the end, perhaps takes itself a little too seriously.

That's the carping out of the way. The good news is that the acting is terrific. Blanchett is a rare leading actress, capable of convincing us she's an ordinary working girl - one simply can't imagine, for example, Kidman taking this role on and making it so real and touching. Sam Neill, cast against type, is wonderfully loathsome. Martin Henderson, Dustin Nguyen, Joel Tobeck - all give top-class support. But the revelation is Hugo Weaving, who is magnificent as the drug-addicted former star-sportsman. Can this be the same actor who has been marking his time in THE MATRIX and LORD OF THE RINGS? Amazingly, it is. A totally convincing transformation. All in all, an only just better-than-average thriller, greatly enhanced by its actors.


There is no surprise here that director Rowan Woods has gone for the more exploratory, more ambiguous and more artistic approach to his film Little Fish. The man has a relatively long line of experience in film-making and moving image production on the whole but here and now when this film was made in 2004, he persists on the exploratory and the artistic despite being given an extremely heavyweight cast that he must've known would've attracted attention abroad. And although I am all for the artistic and the experimental, the effort here just does not cut it – wearing off after about forty-five minutes.

Little Fish reminded me of a BBC produced Scottish drama made in 2002 named Morvern Callar. Both films are exploratory and somewhat ambiguous in their atmosphere; both centre around a confused young female as they live out their days in a respective place that is simple and unspectacular but all the more realistic for it. Both women are faced with an immediate moral choice regarding an event in which the repercussions would be severe: unreported suicide in Morvern Callar and the re-introduction to drugs in Little Fish. Cate Blanchett plays Tracy, an Australian woman in a Sydney suburb tempted back into the world of drug dealing after suffering a prior tragedy, years ago. Blanchett does her usual oblivious faced, soft spoken role that almost demands the audience feel sorry for her or at least 'side' with her – see Elizabeth and Bandits for other examples. She has some friends, some family, a cute little job in a video store and generally gets on well with life following her prior excursion into the world of the 'don't go there'.

But complications arise and the film begins to loose its focus around about the hour mark. Little Fish is not really about too much when you break things down for the first hour or so bar life in Australia, circa 2004 or 2005 depending on weather you want to go by shooting dates or release dates. Given this fact, the film could really be set anywhere and at anytime in history providing the location is developed enough to have a video rental store. The characters in this film are cardboard and uninteresting, most of the time the film will be more interested in giving them funky sounding ring-tones than developing them beyond mere people who stand and talk for minutes on end. What do we know about Lionel played by acting heavyweight Hugo Weaving? We know that he was an Aussie Rules footballer but that is only through the various shots of posters displaying him in action. Apart from this, any dialogue or individual scenes are uninteresting and bland with that distinct annoying feeling you get when a film is trying to pile on an artistic presence.

But then the film brings in its weak attempt at a narrative and its unexciting character development. The people in this film are uninteresting people with uninteresting goals. One character wants to get a new floor for her apartment; Tracy herself wants to open a shop in the said area and the general plot goal throughout is to generally avoid the drugs business and stay away from the wrong people – how exciting. But after being rejected for various loans in two of only very few scenes early on that actually further the film, it seems Tracy's ideas about participating in a drug deal may be too strong to turn down. She will after all, get a lot of money out of it for not much. Primarily, people come and then they go in the film without doing or saying that much. Jonny (Nguyen) is an ex-flame and a somewhat boring love interest that slows the film down needlessly; the scenes around Lionel and constant reminder of his past glories are old after the first time and after pottering about with Tracy for a long while whilst revolving around her past drug problem and how 'stable' she actually is, it just gets tiresome.

The film throws in a lot of unneeded shots of Tracy swimming and the romantic interest of Jonny gives Dustin Nguyen an excuse to show us his muscles (the film was written by a woman, mind) but the underwater shots exist to merely force the film into the realm of the 'artistic' and the inserted TV footage is a silly attempt at getting the film labelled post-modern. The camera shakes a few times and is generally hand-held but so what? Are you that desperate for an artistic labelling? The bizarre music feels recycled from better, much better, films like Donnie Darko and Morven Callar while the narrative drive of drugs and a drug problem feels old. Little Fish may be 'out there' and a somewhat breakaway from formula but it is a film that should stay in the pond with the rest of the minors rather than attempt to get out and swim with the sharks.


It's a disturbingly honest film portraying a hauntingly familiar life and how it is affected by the seamy drug/underworld of Sydney's Asian community. That's not to say that only the Asian community has drug and underworld problems, but it makes for an interesting and colourful backdrop for a complicated but compelling story. In fact, even now two hours after we left the cinema, I'm still mildly troubled by the seeming hopelessness of the confused lives portrayed. It was so real, so close to the bone. The characters could easily be you, or me. As another reviewer stated:

"There's no light-the tunnel goes on forever." A pretty accurate assessment.

I've heard it said that for Blanchett and Weaving their performances rank as personal bests, but I'm not all that sure I'd go that far with Weavings. He was good, very, very good as the broken-down drug-ridden ex-football star but Blanchett's performance as the reformed addict desperately trying to get her life together, to set up her own business and actually resurrect something from the pathetic life she has, was absolutely amazing. Her character is both complex and simplistic all at once. You can detest and love her, feel sympathy and disdain and find by movie's end you're aware that she could so easily be you.

Included in the cast as perennials the likes of Noni Hazlehurst, Lisa McCune and Sam Neill all played sound parts but not a patch on the leads. The balance of the cast are movie journeymen/women who have many and varied backgrounds. None were overly outstanding, although I found the character of Jonny, Blanchett's former boyfriend played by Dustin Nguyen to be quite well done. He disgusted me for what he was and what he wanted to be and that's the actors art.

Go and see this flick. It's an outstanding example of the Australian film industry's capabilities. I rate it 8 out of 10.


As Cate Blanchett said herself, 'Little Fish' is about the people between the middle class and lower class, those who are struggling with their daily lives and are largely ignored. Perske's screenplay is good but it could have been a little tighter as the film does drag at some portions. Woods is good and he brings a certain realness (with the help of the actors) in portraying the complex relationships between the characters. All the main characters, most of them 'recovered' addicts and some returning addicts, try to seek a better life but there is just 'one last trade' that would 'get them to their goals'. Dustin Nguyen (in spite of an uneven accent), Martin Hendersen, Sam Neill and Hugo Weaving are all adequate in their parts and Noni Hazelhurst is wonderful. However, 'Little Fish' belongs to Cate Blanchett. One can see a Blanchett that's completely different from her Hollywood films (then again she's always different in each of her movies). A difficult part required an immensely talented actress and she just makes the task look easy. There's a frightening scene where Cate's Tracy is tempted to 'return' but then a magical scene follows where she walks into a choir rehearsal of a group of singing Vietnamese children and she is confused, conflicted and eventually comforted. This one profound scene was so brilliantly executed with the long shot camera, the innocent voices of the children as they sing the powerful words, and Cate asking repeatedly where the bathroom is while being confused, that the strength of it stays in mind long after the end credits have rolled.


This film is about a woman who tries to get her life back on track after 4 years of heroin addiction.

I find the plot confusing, and the story poorly told. It is a drama, but lacks the drama. The pace of the story is very slow. Even after 90 minutes of the film, the only message I really perceive from the film is that Cate Blanchett's character is unable to get a loan despite repeated attempts. I am particularly annoyed by the excessive use of glares and halos around bright lights. It is not even a nice visual effect to start with anyway. Despite the stellar cast, I find this film unable to deliver what it could have been. I would not recommend it.


One of the users whose review I have just read wrote that he/she really wanted to like the movie... I had the same problem... Hugo Weaving whose amazing performance in V For Vendetta I saw just before,Cate Blanchett who is always worth watching and admiring, Sam Neill... And a trailer that intrigued me, promising an interesting story... Yes, yes, I know, I am naive... never judge a movie by a trailer... But I just couldn't help it... it reminded me of Me and You and Everyone we know, a movie that I really really liked... But, after watching Little fish, I felt nothing... Maybe a bit of confusion, because I wasn't sure what to think, after a movie that gives you nothing to think about... I felt empty, and sorry for the time I spent watching it... A movie with no story... I felt sorry for those great actors... They deserve better, cause they always give their best. So I have no objections to their job, brilliant as always... But that is definitely not enough to make me say this is a good movie...


Writer Jacqueline Perske and Director Rowan Woods chalk up another successful Australian film in LITTLE FISH, an intense, very personal drama about how illegal drugs affect communities, families and individuals. The story begs patience from the viewer as it is gratefully one that does not spell everything out for the viewer, but instead introduces the characters slowly and with hints of backgrounds that bring them to the moments of crisis the time-frame of the film uses.

Taking place in the Little Saigon area of Sydney, Tracy Heart (Cate Blanchett) is a recovered junkie who lives with her mother Janelle (Noni Hazlehurst) and partial amputee brother Ray (Martin Henderson), each trying to make ends meet in a life previously destroyed by drug addiction. Tracy has been clean for four years, works in a video store but has dreams of owning her own business, dreams that are thwarted by banks refusing to give her business loans solely on the basis of her previous addiction. Ray, his amputated leg the result of a car accident somehow connected with drugs, still sells heroin in 'little fish' containers, occasionally calling upon Tracy to make pickups and deliveries. The now absent stepfather Lionel (Hugo Weaving) fights his own addiction both to drugs and to his dealer Brad (Sam Neill) with whom he has been in a gay relationship since his divorce from Janelle. Tracy tries to support Lionel's attempts to kick his habit, but the attempts are failures. Everything comes to a head when 1) Tracy is desperate without her needed bank loan, 2) Tracy's Vietnamese ex-lover Jonny (Dustin Nguyen) returns from Vancouver where his family sent him to avoid the persecution of rehab in Sydney, 3) Brad retires leaving Lionel without a source of drugs or love and Lionel is replaced by a quasi-normal Steven (Joel Tobeck) who kicks the last part of the film into a spin. There are no solutions to anyone's problems: things just happen and the characters respond in the best way they can with the ominous cloud of drug addiction shading their lives and futures.

The script is terse and smart and the direction is relentlessly realistic and well paced. Cate Blanchett gives a sterling portrayal of the very complex Tracy, and Hugo Weaving, Noni Hazelhurst, Sam Neill, Dustin Nguyen, and Martin Henderson are superb. This is a tough little film that does not fear to examine the truth about the effect of drugs on people's lives and spirits. It is a very fine film. Recommended. Grady Harp


About time we had a good script with strong characters for some of the Antipodes' best stars. A film that will appeal on different levels, depending on your background and knowledge of Sydney, its "little Saigon" and its drug subculture. The "little fish" are both the junkies (current and ex) treading water or drowning not waving in the cruel sea of a modern society, and the fish-shaped sauce containers that the latest crop of drugs come in. Hugo Weaving and Sam Neill are brilliant in roles that have borrowed much from Oz sporting and media characters, Noni Hazelhurst is convincing as a suburban mum weighed down by lack of love and betrayal. Martin Henderson completes the family as the disabled, junkie boofhead brother. Cate Blanchett is more than passable as the recovering junkie, still living in the middle of the milieu she is trying to escape. Cabramatta and its Vietnamese community also star, with Dustin Nguyen and his family reflecting the Oz/Viet cultural mix. A film that will appeal strongly to Oz moviegoers, but strong enough also to be appreciated by an international audience.


I was very disappointed by this film. Having read countless positive 4 star reviews for this film I was really looking forward to seeing it. Having watched it recently I have to say that the whole plot was very dull and didn't offer any new plot ideas, direction styles, or anything original in the slightest. If you want to see a proper film about dysfunctional heroin addicts watch Trainspotting ! Having all our great Australian actors coming back to make an Australian film does not automatically make a good film, and in this case it certainly hasn't.

Performances by Hugo and Cate while good, did not make up for a generally average, unoriginal script and storyline.


i really really wanted to like this film. i sought it out in no small part because of the wonderful Cate Blanchett, the enigmatic Hugo Weaving, and the usually amicable Sam Neill. I also admit to mostly loving Australian films; there have been so many good ones. I had to watch this film twice.here were liars, losers, drug addicts, oddly irrelevant dialogue, and lots and lots of boredom. In fairness, i was especially happy to see Hugo's work as a human being. And Cate can do no wrong as far as i'm concerned. And Mr. Neill? He looks to me like he's on medication(s), and i found him less recognizable than Hugo. His bloated appearance doesn't look like the result of over-eating to me. I often watch films more than once, but i don't enjoy re-watching one because i want to make sure i didn't miss something, or because perhaps i didn't "get it" the first time, and then finding that neither was the case. this isn't the worst film i've ever seen, but it was one of the most boring. And no, i'm not one to need car chases, gun play, lots of sex, nor non-stop action to be interested in a movie. But a screenplay helps. I didn't notice one in Little Fish. Little fish are often prey to bigger ones, but in this case, these little fish are so non descript, the bigger ones would probably swim right by them.....


If you are into things about Australia (as I am) you might be tempted to see this movie.

If you succumb to the temptation, here is what you can expect to see:

* A movie full of losers with capital L's.

* A movie full of drug addiction.

* No discernible plot.

* No apparent purpose for making this flick.

* A beginning and end that seem to be totally disconnected from the middle.

* People who tell lies to try to compensate for their failures as human beings.

* Losers who enable each other to stay losers.

* A mother who is a failure at raising and disciplining her children, presumably compensating for the lack of a father by spoiling her offspring to death and anguishing over the result.

One positive note here: Cate does a wonderful job of portraying her character (Tracy), who by the way finally shows a bit of spunk at the end, though this hardly rights the wrong she committed by embezzling money in the first place. No amount of good acting could get me to like her character, however. All I could think is that life is about choices and the wrong choices bring with them consequences. If I could feel sorry for Tracy it would be because nobody cared enough to teach her that. But since she was a fictional character I didn't bother to care about her in the first place. Or maybe I remained detached because I have learned that to care about terminal losers is a waste of love and nothing in the end had showed me that she would eventually turn out OK.

The only other good thing I can see about this movie is that it is a hard look at junkies and what can happen to someone who is thinking about dabbling in drugs. But it is so poorly crafted I had to wonder if people who are themselves real addicts made this movie.

Well, there is one thing that wowed me. When Tracy flopped her head on the bed the camera was in just the right spot to frame her face perfectly. That bit of camera work really impressed me. If you watch this movie you will see why. As someone else mentioned, it looked like the movie was shot with a hand-held camera.


Crap about a bunch of losers. Depressing, uninteresting, and boring.

Set in Sydney, Australia.

It beats me why Sam Neill and Cate Blanchet would participate in such dribble.

Cate's boyfriend, another junkie, returns from Canada to work as a stockbroker.

Her brother, another junkie, was injured badly in a car accident. It appears that the car was driven by the boyfriend.

Nothing interesting or original or entertaining.

In addition, it appears that Cate was a former junkie and who appears to be her old man wants help getting drugs because he also is badly hooked.

Just crap and more crap.

Good actors don't make a bad screenplay a good movie.
great ant

great ant

The subject didn't sound very appealing to me but Cate Blanchett's in it and a whole cast of Aussie/NZ celebrities. Worth a peek, I thought, but sadly, it's disappointing. Cate Blanchett is Tracy, a former heroin addict trying to set up her own business and stay (emotionally) clear from a bunch of ne'er-do wells surrounding her. It's all misery in this film. For me it only works if the story is connected to a certain time and place. There's contemporary Sydney, but it merely serves as background music, it could have been anywhere anytime. It just doesn't come off as very authentic.

Cate Blanchett, Hugo Weaving, Dustin Nguyen, Sam Neill, everyone acts their head off, but to no avail. There's little in the way of a story or direction to guide them. Blanchett is probably the most respected actress of her generation, and again she is very good. It's all her show. As a moodpiece it succeeds in a way, as drama is less rewarding. Director Rowan Woods tries hard to make this engaging but the characters, including Blanchett's, are mildly interesting at first, simply off-putting later. There's just too little to keep things afloat till the end, literally. It's all downhill and we have to slide with them.

Camera Obscura --- 5/10


I gave this movie 4 out of 10...and it only got that because it is an Australian film and I am very patriotic. OI OI OI!

This movie should have been released with a warning.... will cause drowsiness!!! What can I say about the plot?? Well to begin with, it didn't have much of one. The beginning is much the same as the ending....the story doesn't go anywhere and it doesn't go anywhere extremely slowly. That hour and a half felt like a week. This story could have been expanded, more could have been done with the characters. Instead, the characters were left to wallow, no growth or purpose at all. And by the time I was halfway through, I was praying for a door to door salesman to ring my doorbell to get away from it. I even started daydreaming about the housework I could have been doing instead of wasting time watching this movie. I admit to watching it right through to the end, only because I had hoped to see some kind of improvement in characters and script...and was not surprised to see nothing!

Actors were mediocre and not very creditable. But with the script they were given, with no chance of making the characters come to life, I do not blame them. I just feel it was a waste of time and film. No redeeming qualities or anything nice I can comment on here.

Now I know this is only my opinion and that others have commented on this movie favourably. All I can say is that I expect a movie to have characters, plot and to actually be entertaining. I must have higher standards in my movie choices and I only watched this one because of the reviews I read here on IMDb.

If you are looking for an afternoon snooze movie,then this is the one you want.If you want to watch a movie and actually be entertained, then choose another movie.


Another indie movie where the dialogue stinks. Nobody speaks in clear, understandable sentences. Everything is vague, ambiguous and one-word. So your task in every scene is to figure out what the hell is going on. It's like a job. Instead of being entertained you're working. Indie movies think this dialogue is realistic, but it isn't. This isn't how people talk. People speak clearly and make sure you understand what they're talking about. I know people are miserable but wow these people are just hopeless. I didn't even like Cate in this and I usually love her.

I'm also tired of movies about drug addicts. It's so 80s and early 90s. Don't get me wrong...


Little Fish, the 2005 film from Australian director Rowan Woods is an intimate drama that follows the life of Tracy Heart portrayed by Cate Blanchett and her family and close friends. Each character in this drama are each trying to cope with a shattered past and still keep going in the present. Blanchett puts in another strong performance as Tracy, once again transforming into the character and letting the audience join her to the film's conclusion. All of the actors do a solid job. This film's plot is not one that is easy to follow with varying implied details, however the overall themes of family, love, regret, and dreams come through with the performances. Overall a very well paced, well directed and acted film. The DVD contains a 20 minute behind the scenes that explains the character motivations and storyline further.

Grade: A-


This film is closer to defining an inexplicable cinematic logic than previous glossy efforts Lantana and Sommersault, but the treatment of subject still lacks authentic voice or original vision.

All the performances are outstanding -- but the casting (particularly of Cate Blanchett as an x-junkie) feel reminiscent of masterworks theatre version of kitchen sink working class drama. Add Sam Neill and Noni -- and there is definitely something theatrical about the casting choices. However -- all actors do their stellar best to invoke/convey appropriate emotions. Hugo, however, manages to rise above the script's tawdry dialogue to find some truth and humour in the material.

On the subject of scenario / dialogue: Australian film of late has been obsessed by external plot and this one film DOES suffer also from this problem. The writer / script-editors have overfed this monster with too many allusions to drama, hitches and heists without any real internal conflict.

There is one sequence that almost works cinematically -- Blanchett's character entering the theatre undecided about what to do with the drugs. This is the one time the director trusts the audience to be intelligent enough to make their own opinions about the motivation of the characters internal world. It is also the one time we see her character feel a bit dirty and human....not the do-gooding martyr we so often see on the Australian screen.

All the stuff with the pool (underwater et al) and the references to the title "Little Fish" feel horribly forced/sentimental and bear no real emotional or intellectual impact for this audience member. However -- much of this fault can be blamed on the overly graphic/advertising cinema style. Funky colourisation, dutch tilts, unnecessary cutting for adrenalin/pace issues create a montage effect that is both dull and heartless.

And while the final sequence is more reminiscent of a private medical health fund commercial than something of great truth or cinematic originality...a bold untainted heart still manages to rise from the material. For this -- the film should be congratulated.

The second film from the director of The Boys is a slight disappointment but not altogether terrible. Perhaps he was missing the genius and guiding influence of Wenham on set.


Reading some through some of the reviews already posted, I began to wonder if my wife and I had seen an entirely different film called Little Fish. But no. Cate Blanchett was definitely in the one we saw. There she was, acting her little heart out with admirable skill and determination, but nothing could save the film from itself. It simply failed to engage.

The script was unnecessarily meandering and complex and didn't move the story on at a satisfying pace. There is definitely a story to be told on this theme, but it struck us as though the director had used an early script draft by mistake. If the script did go through the usual very necessary rewrite-after-rewrite development then one can only speculate about just how awful the first couple of drafts must have been.

Frankly, it is a dud that can best be summed up as "a film about losers who stay losers". And did we care? No, not one bit. Sorry guys!

Andy Williams


That Little Fish stretches a canvas for actors like Kate Blanchett to sketch top notch characters I have no contest. If watching actors nail roles is your idea of film then see Little Fish, but if story captures you, beware. The reviews praise the depth this film; for me it drops off the esoteric edge.

Little Fish provides a metaphor for the plastic fish designed to hold soy sauce yet double as drug containers. The characters are also little fish swimming in a pool of drugs, life gone wrong, fighting life's currents in a rushing stream.

Tracey, exquisitely played by Blanchett, says in the third act something to the effect, "I just want the money for my business." Don't we all. She has a job - manager of a video store - a plan - open an internet café - but cannot secure the loan because of her history. She was a drug addict from following her pusher boyfriend's lead, has a lousy credit history and the shortsighted bank will not see her vision and loan her about $40k.

The characters in this film made destructive choices and now face payback or change. An ex-boyfriend played by Hugo Weaving just cannot kick his habit; you don't kick habits in your bedroom. Tracey's ex-boyfriend shows up feigning redemption yet still pushes drugs because he cannot muster strength to sell stocks after a four-year opportunity. Tracy, four years clean, struggles with the temptation to relapse - yet she wants her job money. I feel no pity. It is hard to invest in characters who refuse to invest in themselves.

Reviews praise the director for making us feel the characters could be any of us; I did not buy it. Life can betray anyone, yet choices remain and when bad ones are made pity never saves. People's lives do not get complicated by drugs, people complicate their lives through bad choices. Little Fish would have captured my sympathies if it only showed a little spine.

If you want to swim in a hole of sorrow, pity, and dead end; then Little Fish will hook you. If you want a positive look at pursuing a dream, see My Date with Drew.


This is probably one of the most realistic and fairest movie in relation to drug issues. It is not like "Requiem for a dream", but genuinely portraying stories of people who encounter the uncertainty and hopelessness of life and future.

The casts in this movie are great. Hugo Weaving especially is so amazing, and as playing the role of a drug user, it is totally believable! Cate Blanchett keeps up her usual standard of high quality of performance. Sam Neill, Lisa McCune, Martin Henderson, Noni Hazlehurst, Joel Tobeck and the rest of the supporting casts are doing so well in this movie. The only bit of disappointment is Dustin Nguyen's performance- a little bit too wooden and dry.

The music is good, and I love Bic Runga (Aussie singer) singing SOMETHING'S GOTTEN HOLD OF MY HEART in the movie. Her voice fits well and builds up a great atmosphere for the movie.

To sum up, it is one of the best Australian movie in 2005, and for people who lives in Australia, please support the local film industry and local talents.


I found Little Fish way too slow and even turgid, it has a ponderousness which is at times nice, but frequently boring. The big problem is most of the dramatic action that is effecting the characters has already happened years before the film takes place, and at times when the various characters have intense moments about these long gone events it just makes the acting seem melodramatic because we haven't seen or felt the events they are talking about. In fact the whole piece comes across as a third act in a much larger story, and if we'd seen these original events the characters and their actions would seem much more natural.

Unlike Animal Kingdom which has similar pacing but which only grows in intensity as the characters unravel because of things they are doing now, the pacing here just slows everything and waters down what interesting content there is. It's alright for the theme to be looking at people struggling with their lives after these big events, except there was way too much of them struggling with these past events rather than their lives now - all of the emotional and narrative action is centred around things we haven't seen and which aren't really explained clearly either.

Hugo Weaving is brilliant and the film is worth seeing just for his performance alone. There was something about Cate Blanchett's performance I didn't like - it seemed just a bit too much of a one note take on her - there was lots of hair flicking and annoyance - but the character wasn't infused with any kind of nobility as she tried to overcome the effects of her past wrongs - that would have made for a much more engaging performance and given us some empathy for her. But then again maybe she really did hit the nail on the head because if she's selfish enough to become a drug addict in the first place there's no reason why some of those character traits wouldn't have carried over afterwards as well.

Maybe as film maker myself I find it frustrating that a film that is clearly not ready to be made simply because of the script, can get made with a good budget and a good cast. The photography and music were very nice though.