Monday, May 11, 2020


Now available on YouTube, VUDU, etc:

Angelfish--This drama is set in the Bronx in the early '90s; long enough ago that people still called each other on push-button phones and didn't have Facebook profiles. This would give it some nostalgic value even if it weren't a sweet, tender and convincing teen romance, which it is.

Brendan (Jimi Stanton) is a tough but deeply decent and responsible teenage Irish-American kid who works in a grocery deli to support, just barely, his drunk young single Mom (Erin Davie) and his younger brother Conor (Stanley Simons), who's starting to hang with a bad crowd. When Eva, from a Puerto Rican family with a strict mother (Rosie Berrido) and mentally challenged brother (Ivan Mendez), comes into the store, Brendan understandably falls in love at first sight with her. Soon after, in response to his gentle attentions, she reciprocates.

Eva is played by a rapper known as Princess Nokia (aka Destiny Nicole Frasqueri), heartbreakingly lovely and a natural, open-hearted actress. Stanton is equally endearing, and before long we're invested in the fate of their love, and, if we're experienced moviegoers, anxious that something dreadful might be in store for us.

But writer-directed Peter Lee, supposedly inspired by a true story, doesn't punish us too much; trouble arises from the conflict between what these two kids want and the duty they feel toward their families, but nothing lurid or horrible is visited upon them, and by extension on us. Indeed the movie is simple and modest to the point of being slight, but it's so confidently made, and the actors, especially the leads, are so directly and guilelessly charming that it's a pleasure.

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