Little Fish To Fry

Cate Blanchett in Little Fish
Cate Blanchett in Little Fish
“Hugo Weaving plays a pretty good junkie”, I said to my friend Sue tonight as we watched “Little Fish”, a film starring Hugo, Cate Blanchett and others made in 2005.

The film was written by the sister of a friend of mine who also did “Love My Way”. ‘She likes underwater swimming scenes”, Sue noted as we watched the film about a bunch of people living in Cabramatta who are “living with heroin”.

Living in Surry Hills, you get to recognise that “hopelessness” that some people experience while using heroin (or trying to get off it). You see it at Surry Hills Mall (known locally as The Methadone Mall) and you see it on the daytime streets of Surry Hills. You see people who have totally messed up their lives, but who are trying to get it together. And when you see them, you think to yourself “I hope really hope you make it”.

“Little Fish” is a film about that. Cate Blanchett plays Tracey who is trying to get it together after using heroin for a number of years. She’s working in a video shop, and thinks she’s gonna make it. But then she applies for a bank loan, and she soon realises everything is still against her.

Hugo Weaving, on the other hand, plays a character who just seems totally hopeless and unable to make that transition to a better life.

Although suffering with a different form of addiction, he reminded me of a woman who lives locally who is a long-term alcoholic. There’s a lot of mythology associated with the woman I know as “Beryl”. How much is true, I don’t know.

I know, however, she’s been living and drinking on the streets of Surry Hills and Darlinghurst for as long as I’ve been in Sydney. Sometimes you see her walking around looking like she’s getting her life together, she’s combed her hair, her clothes are looking good. And other times you see her passed out on the street outside The Columbian, with her hair in a mess, and her clothes looking very dirty.

Whenever I see her looking like she’s getting her life together (like earlier this year), I say a little prayer, hoping that she’s going to keep it up. But then a week or so later, you see her again and she’s passed out with a cask of wine to her side. I guess I could do something to help, but frankly I don’t know what I’d do, and I suspect there are people who would be far better to help than I would. “The do-gooder gene” I have is a realistic one, I guess.

Anyway, after the grimness of “Little Fish”, we watched “The Vicar of Dibley” for a while. A greater contrast you might not imagine.

It was great having Sue come to visit for only a day or so. She has a meeting in Parramatta tomorrow which I hope will go well.


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