Olivia Cooke and Jack O’Connell play a couple navigating memory loss from a mysterious disease in this drama with “Eternal Sunshine” vibes.
The phrase “eerily prescient” is overused, but for “Little Fish” — a romantic drama set during a global epidemic — it’s apt. Directed by Chad Hartigan, purveyor of Sundance favorites “Morris From America” and “This Is Martin Bonner,” “Little Fish” revolves around a global epidemic that leads to memory loss and charts a young couple’s fight to hold onto each other despite the disease. That blend of romantic and cerebral sci-fi earned the film comparisons to “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.”
Here’s the official synopsis: “Imagine waking up in a world where a pandemic has broken out, which strikes with no rhyme or reason, and causes its victims to lose their memories. Imagine waking up and not remembering the person you love. This is the world that newlyweds Emma (Olivia Cooke) and Jude (Jack O’Connell) find themselves in, not long after meeting and falling in love. When Jude contracts the disease, the young couple will do anything to hold onto the memory of their love.”
The trailer shrewdly plays up the pandemic similarities; it opens with O’Connell donning a mask, and plays on vaccine and testing anxieties with shots of frenzied crowds struggling outside closed hospital doors.
In his warm review out of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, IndieWire’s Ryan Lattanzio was moved by the film’s emotional language: “Beautifully acted and grounded in relatable emotions despite the lofty premise, ‘Little Fish’ plays as both an effective metaphor for Alzheimer’s, and the disintegration of a relationship without closure or reason.” He also singled out the film’s “swoony cinematography,” “nimble editing,” and Keegan DeWitt’s “gorgeous score.”
After winning over indie film fans in “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl,” Cooke further impressed in Cory Finley’s “Thoroughbreds” and is set for another critical hit opposite Riz Ahmed in the forthcoming “Sound of Metal.” O’Connell broke out on the British TV show “Skins,” like contemporaries Dev Patel and Nicholas Hoult, and has since landed film roles opposite the likes of Laura Dern and Kristen Stewart.
IFC Films will release “Little Fish” in select theaters, digital, and cable VOD on February 5. Check out the eerily prescient — and it certainly is — first trailer below.