In 1999 the offbeat comic romance The Annihilation of Fish was released. The film was released in the United States under the genres drama, romance, and comedy, and it had a running time of 108 minutes. The live action original screenplay is rated R for some sexual content. The screenplay was written by Anthony C. Winkler, produced by Paul Heller, and directed by Charles Bernett. The executive producer was Kris Dodge, the line producer was Arlene Alberton, and William Fabrizio, John Remark, and Eric Mitchell also functioned as producers. The assistant director was Kris Krengel and the director of photography was John Njaga Demps. Regent Entertainment distributed the film, releasing it domestically on November 2nd of 2001. The credited stars in The Annihilation of Fish consist only of James Earl Jones as Fish, Lynn Redgrave as Poinsettia, and Margot Kidder as Mrs. Muldroone. The film won several awards, including a Silver Award at WorldFest Houston in 2000, Newport Beach Film Festival's Jury Award in 2001, and Sarasota Film Festival's Audience Award that same year. The film grossed around $20,000 for its Box Office performance. Sign up here for AT&T U-verse Packages and get a lot more great entertainment in your home.
The Annihilation of Fish is a movie about a few different things. It is about love and insanity and the journey of outsiders and outcasts to find belonging and happiness together. In the end The Annihilation of Fish is a lot about tolerance.
Fish, after who The Annihilation of Fish is so obviously named, is an elder Jamaican expatriate and widower. For most of his life Fish has lived in a mental institution located in New York, largely owing to the cruel “Hank” who is the primary indication and manifestation of Fish's insanity—because no one but Fish can see him. The cantankerous and jealous demon Hank frequently attacks Fish without warning. He also reeks havoc on the lives of good people, leading Fish to beat Hank until he obeys. After many long years Fish is finally released from the overcrowded mental institution, putting an end to his extended visit there. Fish finds himself at a sordid triplex located in Los Angles, and here the other primary two characters—Poinsettia and Mrs. Muldroone—all come together to meet. The feisty Mrs. Muldroone runs the boarding house.
Poinsettia is quite a bit like Fish. She too has taken up residence in the rundown building and she too can see a being that no one else can. The former abused housewife is still infatuated with thoughts and dreams of love and romance. The elder woman drinks a decent amount and enjoys the music of 19th century Giacomo Puccini. Actually, she much more than enjoys his music—she is convinced that he is following her around, in love with her, and in fact she has future plans to marry the composer. Of course most people think that she is crazy and in an effort to get away from them she too finds herself in the Los Angeles triplex for a change of scenery.
Poinsettia and Fish soon become romantically involved, which isn't the least bit surprising or unexpected. Although the two willingly admit that they are both old, and they have that much in common, they are definitely alike in more ways than that. Poinsettia and Fish both regard one another as crazy and of course it isn't difficult to imagine that their not-so-real friends interfere with their real lives. They confide in each other and reveal information about their imaginary friends, forming a close relationship and sharing fully in one another's worlds. Soon complications arise, however, as Fish's nemesis Hank, and the primary constant throughout his life, brings problems. Fish struggles between Hank and Poinsettia who mistakenly “kills” Hank.
IMDb gives The Annihilation of Fish 6.6/10 stars, Rotten Tomatoes gives it an approval rating of 70%, and Metacritic gives it a score of 2/5 stars. Despite it being low budget there are many fans of the film which say it is among their favorites. They call it touching and under-appreciated with great performances from the actors and great directing as well. It is called vibrant and memorable by reviews who say it is an “overlooked treasure.” Critics say that the plotline of crazy people falling in love is already a warn and tried theory. Critics also say that they think the movie is a little on the silly side. There are few critics, however, who give many other substantial reasons why they did not appreciate the movie. Most reviews about the film were positive, whether simple and sweet or long explanations of why they found The Annihilation of Fish to be superb. If you like romantic comedies it might be worth a shot.