Angelfish Image


By Brian Shaer | May 9, 2020

As Brendan and Eva’s relationship blossoms, obstacles arise (as they always do). Brendan’s brother, Conor (Stanley Simons), who has been hanging around with a shady crowd, is arrested in a drug bust; her traditional mother guilt-trips Eva into staying at home to help care for her developmentally disabled brother. Further complicating matters is the fact that Eva’s heretofore unseen and unbeknownst to Brendan but mother-approved boyfriend, Rafael (Pedro Morillo, Jr.), returns from Puerto Rico. 

The confrontation scene in which Eva discloses to Brendan her (basically meaningless, but still active) relationship with Rafael is shattering. Both Stanton and Frasqueri play this scene with brutal truth and sincerity that it borders on hard-to-watch. Frasqueri makes the brilliant acting choice to avert her eyes from Stanton as we watch his heartbreak in real-time. Eva’s inability to look Brendan in the eye as she emotionally crushes him tells us all we need to know about the relationship between the two. It’s an incredibly moving piece of drama.

“…the two leads, make this simple story well worth your time.”

Angelfish, though, isn’t a perfect movie. For one thing, there is an overuse of handheld camerawork, a technique that is most effectively used to emphasize the sense of frenzy in a particular scenario. When utilized in scenes of the quieter pitch – even within the context of a gritty drama – between two characters, it runs the risk of creating a tonal disconnection.

Lee’s movie doesn’t really break any new ground either in terms of storytelling or as cinema. Yet, like the recent Lady Bird, Angelfish is, at its most elemental, a simple story, simply told. The perceptive and astute script, judicious direction, and affectless acting from a masterfully assembled cast, especially the two leads, make this simple story well worth your time. 

Angelfish (2019)

Directed and Written: Peter Lee

Starring: Jimi Stanton, Destiny Nicole Frasqueri, Erin Davie, Stanley Simons, Bobby Plasencia, Kyle Glenn, Claire McClanahan, Ivan Mendez, Pedro Morillo, Jr., etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Angelfish Image

"…brutal truth and sincerity that it borders on hard-to-watch."

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  1. Roberta says:

    Jimi Stanton looks NOTHING like a young Jim Caviezel! Also, Mr. Caviezel is the most magnetic, charismatic actor out there. You really need to know what you’re writing before you bad-mouth a great actor

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