Angelfish: Review

Angelfish: Review

A story of love and responsibility, Angelfish is story of a young couple from different sides of the track. Forced to look after his family Brenan (Jimi Stanton) meets the college bound Eva (Princess Nokia) before dreams of something better threaten to tear them apart.

Angelfish is your typical watered down Romeo & Juliet. Though their families may not be at war, they do disobey the family’s plan for them. What I don’t get with Angelfish is that its built on the idea of a beautiful young couple transforming each others’ lives, yet, Eva didn’t seem to inspire Brendan that often. Brendan seems to be inspired more by the wise old gent Mr Nunez (Bobby Pasencia) during their numerous deli counter chinwags.

There was a particular scene in which Eva tells Brendan to follow his own advice, which seemed to be pushing it that way, but in the end Brendan is more inspired to change his life by his absolutely terrible mum incapable of helping his little brother out of trouble. In a way you could say finding someone he loves brings him to this point, but it was hard to see and could have done with a little more screen time and development.  



Where Angelfish really succeeds is in its portrayal of young people with way too responsibility thrust on them for their entire lives. Brendan and Eva have opportunities ahead but a family to care for first. It’s difficult to watch at times as two clearly loving and GOOD people are forced into things they don’t want to do, or rejected by the ones that they love. Jimi Stanton and Princess Nokia do a stunning job in displaying the heartache and raging battle inside. Director Peter Andrew Lee does a solid as well directing them and the cinematography to make them feel alone. The gritty realism of the sound quality does add an extra tension to the scenes. The background characters, background actors don’t add much. Add this to a weak and strange middle section a lot of Angelfish seems strange and unconnected.

The inspirational speech which eventually heals Eva’s woes is OK, but doesn’t really address the problems Eva faced from her mother. Ultimately at the end, I wanted more happy moments and more love I know that not all films end with that magical ‘happy ending’ which although frustrating for me led me in the end to decide I quite likes Angelfish as a whole, despite its drawbacks.   

As for drawbacks, Angelfish has a few. The brother was a weak character. I didn’t really get how or why he was pulled into drugs, and why the dealers wanted him involved so badly, or why on earth they thought the brother would help them. It seemed a bit forced, as if included just to create some kind of conflict, but with very little threat. The film made a big deal of the mixing communities in its blurb, but as an outsider it seemed to make little difference to their story.

Having watched the BBC’s Normal People in almost complete succession, I know that not much happening doesn’t mean a lack of excitement or tension. Angelfish had a lot of these moments and lot of similarities, but it didn’t hold you in anywhere near the same way. The dialogue felt like a bunch of scripted inspirational speeches pieced together and didn’t feel natural. The only natural character was Eva’s gossiping pal Ricky (Sebastian Chacon) who’s short but sweet screen time made for some of my favourite moments, but again, ultimately redundant to the plot…or anything. Give him a sequel!

Princess Nokia will be making waves at some point, with a music career and feuds with Ariana Grande to back her up and certainly Jimi Stanton will make a good few movies like Angelfish before he’s done. Unfortunately Angelfish is not going to be on the watch list on Netflix for a lot of people. For those into emotional dramas it’s a nice simple easy watch and will fulfil an evening’s filmy duties. It’s the sort of film you finish and say ‘I quite like that’ but may forget the name when telling your mates the next day.


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Films, games, Godzilla and Scott Pilgrim; these are the things that Alex loves. As he tries to make use of the fact he’s always staring at a screen or in a book, you’ll hopefully be treated to some good reviews along the way (though he doesn’t promise anything).