Review: Sleeping with the Fishes (2013)


Director: Nicole Gomez Fisher

Starring: Gina Rodriguez, Ana Ortiz, Steven Strait, Priscilla Lopez

Release Date: 10th August 2013 (US)

Sleeping with the Fishes is the directorial debut of Nicole Gomez Fisher, for which she was twice awarded: Best New Director – Brooklyn Film Festival 2013 and Best Director – Imagen Awards 2014. Nicole, also the writer and producer, expertly cast Gina Rodriguez to play Alexis, the lead character.

The film starts out with Alexis in the midst of a not so great time in her life. Draped in a meatball suit, she bravely works as a street waver for a boss who neglects to promote her to event planner for his restaurant. Phone sex operator is another job that’s a dead ender for her. Calls from her sister Kayla remind her that family is not so far away, although that’s a complicated option. After the death of an aunt, Alexis reluctantly returns to her family home where she reunites with her Jewish father and Latina mother. At the outset it’s clear her mother has been an ongoing source of conflict and drama.

With big dreams of and talents in party planning, Kayla books Alexis a paid gig planning a bat mitzvah. Even though her mother wants her to get her life together and give up the kiddy parties, Alexis agrees to plan the party, and so prolongs the stay with her family.

Fighting back from the history of a cheating (now dead) husband, and a pessimistic mother, she begins planning the superhero themed event. Kayla’s fun-loving guidance propels Alexis on a path to a reawakening. After drinking too many shots at a nightclub, Kayla dances and falls and while she sleeps it off in the club’s office, Alexis hangs out with the handsome club owner, Dominic.

While a romance starts between Alexis and Dominic, she still struggles with finding her way in the world. Disillusionment after her bad marriage, unresolved issues with her mother, and attempts to revamp herself, all lead to a lesson in transcendence.

While the film deals with heavy issues, it is lighthearted throughout. Alexis fights her inner demons but her angelic face and her radiant courage give hint that all will be well.

As Kayla tells her, “You can’t fail if you finish”.

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