GOLDFISH MEMORY(director/writer: Elizabeth Gill; cinematographer: Ken Byrne; editor: Dermot Diskin; music: Richie Buckley; cast: Sean Campion (Tom), Flora Montgomery (Angie), Jean Butler (Renee), Demien McAdam (Conzo), Aisling O’Neill (Helen), Keith McErlean (Red), Stuart Graham (Larry), Justine Mitchell (Kate), Lise Hearns (Rosie), Fiona Glascott (Isolde), Fiona O’Shaughnessy (Clara), Peter Gaynor (David); Runtime: 85; MPAA Rating: NR; producer: Breda Walsh; Wolfe; 2003-Ireland)
“It is a vacuous and predictable ‘looking for love’ story that is surprisingly entertaining due to its fast-pace.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Writer-director Elizabeth Gill’s “Goldfish Memory” is a light-hearted romantic/comedy that looks at the love life of one middle-aged womanizing poetry professor, Tom (Sean Campion), and tells a number of interconnected stories about mostly self-absorbed twentysomethings doing their dating thing in contemporary Dublin. Gill has studied under Martin Scorsese, Todd Haynes, and Barry Levinson, but you wouldn’t know it from this harmless film. It features an attractive ensemble cast and tells a sitcom-like story about exploring the truths of different ways to love: straight, gay and bisexual. It offers a healthy libertine view about diversity in sex, but takes no further chances than leaning on clichés to cover the assortment of singles falling in and out of love without offering anything but weak comedic responses to their realistic love life problems.
Tom’s rap to the gullible coeds he hits on starts with him comparing a goldfish’s three-second memory to how human love is also that quickly forgotten. When student activist Clara (Fiona O’Shaughnessy) catches her Tom kissing Isolde, a student he woos by having her whisper something German in his ear, she dumps him for a lesbian relationship with local older reporter Angie (Flora Montgomery). But Clara also sours on Angie when she turns out to be a possessive drag (she berates Clara for being bisexual and hanging out with stud Conzo). The now free Isolde who dumped the clinging prof, responds to Clara’s aggressive advances and begins a week-at-a-time arrangement. Angie for solace seeks out the warm shoulder of her gay bicycle messenger friend Red (Keith McErlean), which strangely leads them into the bedroom for sex. Red beams because he’s happy he just scored straight bartender David, who he unexpectedly met. When Rosie finds out David’s gay she goes into a snit and boots him out of her flat, and without thinking things through tries to coerce her new boyfriend Larry into an inconceivable marriage. When Red finds out he’s to be a father he’s overcome with joy, while Angie tries to figure out how she’s to break the news to her new lover Kate. The entire film is made up of a chain reaction of such tenuous romances of every stripe, all who cannot live without love. What love means varies from some wanting marriage to others wanting only a temporary relationship.
It is a vacuous and predictable ‘looking for love’ story that is surprisingly entertaining due to its fast-pace, colorful photography of Dublin, and cheery manner it skips over all these merry-go-round ride relationships. But none of the stories were memorable or seemed original, and the scene of Tom rushing to tell his new girlfriend Renee before she boards a plane for America that he’s ready to commit to marriage was a heavy-handed steal from The Graduate.
REVIEWED ON 11/2/2004 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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