“Big Fish in Middlesex” is a gripping film that focuses on a multi-cultural group of friends (not exactly a good thing in the racist South) who never left the town they grew up in. Now they are in their mid-twenties and still act like they are in their teens, only they can legally get into bars. It’s a sad state of affairs that’s played out in small towns all over the country on a daily basis, and when you add in the fact that these friends are pot heads, drug dealers and drunks, viewers won’t be too surprised to see suicide, jail and violence be the outcome of their tale.

The people in this film mirror real individuals doing things that are just as stupid as the things done in this film. If it feels too honest, it’s because it is. Those folks who never got out to see the world often end up like this, and it isn’t a pretty picture. In fact, it’s pitiful, a point that does come across here. These guys have no real ambitions, though some of them have the talent to move on to bigger and better things, and they are hated and loved, which makes them a target for police and others just like them. Whether it’s trading crack for sex or constantly showing up late for work with weak excuses, this group is headed nowhere fast, and they don’t even know it.

If you are like the characters in this film, you won’t come away from it feeling good about your life (at least not if you’re paying attention), but you will know you have something that not a lot of other people have — friends who will back you up right or wrong. They have been there since the beginning and will see you through to the end, whatever that end may be — a barrel of a gun or an infinite loop of misery.

For those who have escaped this life, “Big Fish in Middlesex” will remind you of why you should be glad you did.

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