Posted Wednesday 16th of October 2019
Jellyfish + Q&A 24 September
*contains plot spoilers*
Anticipation: I expected to admire Jellyfish but not necessarily to enjoy it – it sounded a tough watch, from reviews.
Enjoyment: I really enjoyed Jellyfish a lot: funny and consistently entertaining and interesting throughout. The central character Sarah was very well written and acted and I cared what happened to her – the main litmus test for me. Liv Hill was on screen constantly and gave an amazing performance especially for a 16 year old.
The difficult themes addressed in the film – eg the children’s reaction to their mother’s illness, and the rape scene – were handled sensitively and non-exploitatively, and without being too heavy-handed. It made me think of earlier Ken Loach films like The Angel’s Share, rather than his more recent work where the audience is told what to think.
Margate provided an interesting and evocative setting and was almost like another character in the film. The theme of gentrification was brought out well without being too obvious. It made me think of Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing in that respect.
I loved the ending of the film – it gave you some hope for the character without undermining the realism of the film by being too positive. It was the first moment in the film where Sarah experienced empathy and real care from an adult.
James Gardner was a likeable and interesting speaker and I definitely want to see his next feature film.
In retrospect: I thought about Jellyfish on and off for quite a few days afterwards – particularly the theme of young carers and their responsibilities and vulnerabilities, and it being such a hidden problem in society. One of those films that stays with you afterwards, another litmus test of a really good film. It still seems really good almost a week later.