An excellent review as always, Mr. Greydanus. One note though on your response to the attitude that the Fishes have about whether or not fugees as human. You wrote:Are Britain’s dictators really so far gone that they would deliberately suppress a ray of hope for mankind’s survival on the grounds of the mother’s nationality? Surely, the business about the government not wanting to admit the fugees’ “humanity” can’t be meant literally, can it? The movie can’t really be asking us to accept that a mere two decades from now, the actual biological humanity of non-British people could be a point of serious dispute? But if not, surely the immediate crisis of the propagation of the species trumps all political concerns, even for fascist regimes. We aren’t talking about space-race nationalism here, and anyway, even in the 1950s we were pretty clear the Commies were human.
I believe that even though “fugees” are considered to be a lesser race by the government in story’s setting, their humanity is never in question. The Fish are ultra left-wing political activists/terrorists, and as such, just like extremists in real life, they have a tendency to overinflate the “importance of their struggle.” This includes taking a genuine miscarriage of injustice, the denial of civil rights to immigrants, and blowing it out of proportion into a fight against the “pigs.”
In a nutshell, the Fish, like many protesters, are whiners who try to make their goals seem far more noble then they actually are, and the best way to bring supporters to your cause is to convince people that your enemy wants to destroy everything you hold sacred, including your humanity.
Keep up the good work in your reviews.
Your analysis of the movie Fishes’ overinflated rhetoric and hyperdramatic sense of their own importance and the gravity of the injustices they resist is fascinating, and entirely reasonable. My one reservation is that I strongly suspect your explanation makes more sense than anything Cuarón or his screenwriters were thinking. (Of course we have to distinguish between the Fishes of the movie and those of the book, but that’s another story.)
It is interesting that apart from Julian and Miriam the Fishes seem at least shot through with murderously corrupt and untrustworthy leadership. One might otherwise get the idea that their point of view was the movie’s own. As it is, it’s hard to know what to think.