Gina Rodriguez, Ana Ortiz, Steven Strait
WRITTEN AND DIRECTED BY
Nicole Gomez Fisher
Breaking Glass Pictures
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Home is where the hurt is...
Alexis Fish (Gina Rodriguez) has a mess of a life. She's been left broke and broken-hearted following the death of her cheating husband, and now she's working as a phone sex operator and a walking meatball hero to get by. When she returns to her hometown of Brooklyn for a distant Aunt's funeral, Alexis fears telling her overbearing mother (Priscilla Lopez) that her life is truly a mess. With help from her quirky sister Kayla (Ana Ortiz) and a new love interest, Alexis begins to realize that she must let go of her past to define her own future.
Picked up by indie distributor Breaking Glass Pictures, Sleeping with the Fishes is a warm and funny film featuring a gifted and spot-on ensemble cast with an absolutely terrific filmmaking debut from Nicole Gomez Fisher, perhaps most known as a founding member of The Hot Tamales Live!, a comedy tour produced by Eva Longoria. A gifted comic, she has a great sense of both comic and dramatic timing and both are put on full display in this refreshingly laid back, authentic, and genuine film.
Sleeping With the Fishes picked up Best Director prizes for Gomez Fisher including at the Brooklyn Film Festival and the Imagen Foundation Awards. In addition to the directorial win, Rodriguez, Ortiz, and Lopez all picked up nominations for Best Actress/Supporting Actress from the Imagen Foundation and the film picked up a Best Picture nomination.
The film's greatest value may very well be the remarkable chemistry displayed between Rodriguez and Ortiz, whose performances are so radiating of that sibling sensibility that it's hard not to wonder if they really are siblings. Rodriguez adds the film's emotional resonance, while Ortiz gives the film a delightful spark and energy - together they are an absolute delight.
The script is realistic and honest without coming off as overly heavy or ever crossing the line into melodrama, and while I certainly don't know the Latino experience in America one gets the sense that Sleeping with the Fishes comes from a place of cultural awareness and identity. The film also features a solid performance from Steven Strait, familiar to some folks from the bigger budgeted films 10,000 B.C. and The Covenant among others.
Sleeping with the Fishes is now available on DVD from Breaking Glass Pictures and for those seeking a terrific cinematic experience with a Latino indie film, you definitely won't go wrong with this film. On the other hand, skip that. That was badly stated. If you want a terrific cinematic experience with a richly authentic family and a terrific story, pick up Sleeping with the Fishes.
© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic