Little Fish parents guide

Little Fish Parent Guide

This film is an intimate portrayal of private struggle; not an exploration of the widespread issues at the center of the story.

Overall C

Digital on Demand: A new virus has emerged, one which destroys memories and changes personalities. For Jude, this means that he's slowly losing all of his memories of his wife, Emma.

Release date February 5, 2021

Violence C+
Sexual Content B-
Profanity D
Substance Use C-

Why is Little Fish rated Not Rated? The MPAA rated Little Fish Not Rated

Run Time: 100 minutes

Parent Movie Review

Emma and Jude(Olivia Cooke and Jack O’Connell) are small fish caught in a big ocean of uncertainty. A pandemic called Neuroinflammatory Affliction (NIA) is sweeping across the globe. The illness is similar to dementia or Alzheimer’s because it robs the inflicted of their memories.

At first the condition effects only strangers, people unknown to either Emma or Jude. Then it hits one of their friends (Raúl Castillo), causing the usually gentle man to turn angry and violent. Eventually it is Jude’s turn to experience the slipping away of life’s little details.

Desperate not to lose her husband to the incurable ailment, Emma searches for answers in textbooks and signs Jude up for a risky experimental procedure. While waiting to see if those paths will lead to answers, Emma tries to be the keeper of the pair’s memories and constantly quizzes Jude in an effort to exercise his mind.

Like the spread of the fictional NIA, the movie’s pacing ebbs and flows. Sometimes it meanders into portrayals of day-to-day survival, such as Emma’s work as a veterinarian technician and the heartbreaking task of having to euthanize pets who have been forgotten by their owners. Or it rushes past Jude’s confession to former substance abuse. Then it trickles through romantic episodes, sensual sequences and depictions of kissing. The current does pick up though when a disoriented man pulls a knife on his live-in partner, believing she is a stranger. The only constant throughout the script is its flood of profanity (especially its use of a strong sexual expletive) which pushes this unrated movie into Restricted territory.

Releasing when a real pandemic is ravaging the world, this film has the opportunity to mirror timely issues. By depicting a disease similar to one afflicting many seniors, the script also has the chance to reflect on a true challenge for a vulnerable portion of society. But it does neither of those things.

Instead, Little Fish is an intimate portrayal of private struggle—even though it is surrounded by a world full of others facing the same tragedy. Presenting the story in a broken timeline, the screenplay offers a whirlpool of moments where we witness Jude’s fading cognition swirled with scenes of Emma’s valiant attempts to remind him of their meeting, courtship and marriage. Unfortunately, rather than charting a course to a memorable ending, this creative approach just muddies the waters and drowns any of the movie’s hoped-for genius.

Directed by Chad Hartigan. Starring Olivia Cooke, Jack O'Connell, and Soko. Running time: 100 minutes. Theatrical release February 5, 2021. Updated

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Little Fish
Rating & Content Info

Why is Little Fish rated Not Rated? Little Fish is rated Not Rated by the MPAA

Violence: Accidents are mentioned or shown that are caused by/related to people losing their memories. A disoriented woman jumps off a boat, and another person jumps in after her. Another character forgets who his partner is, mistakes her for an intruder and threatens to kill her with a knife: some blood is shown. Friends of ill people put their own safety at risk trying to calm down agitated and violent individuals. Ownerless animals are euthanized at an animal shelter (We see a needle injected into a paw and the animal slowly quite breathing). Angry and confused characters throw or break things. Frightened and desperate people storm a medical clinic. Some blood is shown when characters get tattoos. An invasive medical procedure is described by a professional and later attempted by amateurs: depicted is a needle puncturing the patient’s palette that causes the person to moan in pain. Some blood is shown on surgical instruments.
Sexual Content: A couple kisses and embraces frequently. An unmarried man and woman discuss sex briefly and later move in together. Couples are seen in bed together. One scene depicts a man and woman in bed sensually touching each other. Sexual relations are implied, not shown. A naked couple is depicted in a bathtub together, no private body parts are shown. Some sexual banter occurs.
Profanity: The script includes 34 uses of a strong sexual expletive, along with a couple of depictions of a sexual figure gesture. A dozen scatological curses and other mild and moderate profanity are also heard.
Alcohol / Drug Use: Characters are shown smoking tobacco throughout this movie. In one scene a character smokes a joint. Substances abuse (drugs and alcohol) is discussed, along with efforts to stay clean and the possibilities of relapse. Drinking is depicted at parties, bars and social settings.

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Little Fish Parents' Guide

This movie depicts a new disease that causes people to lose their memories. Such ailments truly exist, although they usually affect only the elderly. In the movie, why do you think this problem receives so much attention? Why does this real affliction seem commonplace and perhaps even evitable when it affects so many seniors? Is cognition loss somehow sadder if it happens to someone young instead of someone old? Do you think more action to find solutions would be taken if such an illness was a pandemic?

Learn more about Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.

Home Video

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Other characters struggling to hang onto memories, or supporting loved ones who are trying to, are depicted in Still Alice and Sill Mine.