The Fish Child [El Nio Pez]

"Very Good"

The Fish Child [El Nio Pez] Review


Filmmaker Puenzo reunites with her XXY star Efron for this intriguingly warm and textured thriller. The plot kind of goes off the rails, but the internal drama is beautifully written and played.

In Buenos Aires, rich teen Lala (Efron) has fallen in love with her low-caste maid Ailin (Vitale). Lala's brother (Doregger) is just home from rehab, and her judge father (Munne) is getting death threats, so they're oblivious to Lala's dream to run off to Ailin's abandoned family home in Paraguay and live happily ever after. But their crazy plan goes awry, leaving Lala in Paraguay, where she meets Ailin's former soap-star dad (Andre), and Ailin in Argentina, where she's cornered by the cops for something Lala did.

The film's real story is of two young women finding their independence in a male-dominated society. This develops in a complex and fascinating way, with all kinds of harsh revelations and surprising moments that draw on the considerable skills of the young cast. Puenzo has a firm grip on this aspect of the film; the interaction between Efron and Vitale is extremely powerful, and this extends to their scenes with the men around them.

Oddly, two things that distract us along the way. The first is the Paraguayan fable of the title, about a little lake-dwelling boy who cares for the spirits of drowned children. And the second is a colourful crime boss (Velasquez) who threatens to turn the film into a Latina Thelma & Louise with gun-blazing girls on the run. Both of these elements are essentially red herrings, and they kind of weaken the punch of the much stronger core narrative.

Fortunately, that central focus is so emotive that it keeps us gripped. And it also helps that Puenzo films it like a dreamlike fairy tale, with magical imagery that really sparks the imagination and bridges the out-of-sequence storytelling. Even as the luxuriant imagery and pace give way to a more grim action thriller, the film is thoroughly involving. And it so astutely and artfully grapples with issues of both class and gender that it can't be ignored.



Facts and Figures

Genre: Foreign

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Cast & Crew

Director: Lucia Puenzo

Producer:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.