Review Of The Film The Secret Goldfish

“The Secret Goldfish” is the most recent short film by director John Johnson, and screenwriter/novelist Vincent Caulfield. In an attempt to seek out more innovative ways of teaching aimed at the youth, the government teamed up with Hollywood and 12 prominent writers of children’s books, to fund 12 films targeted at educating this nation’s youth. “The Secret Goldfish” is the first of those films. They are planned to be shown at certain smaller cinemas, along with being part of a new reformed study curriculum at select elementary schools along the east coast. This initiative sparked some interest at Catcher of the News as the art of filmmaking is held very dearly within the editorial team, therefore it had to be reviewed.

The short film is based on the main short story in Caulfield’s aforementioned book, that is essentially a compilation of short stories for children. The film follows the plot of the book quite religiously, and it never deviated too far from the book. The plot follows the main protagonist, a nameless boy, who will not let anyone see his goldfish because he paid for it with his own hard-earned money. He grows attached to it, but being so young, the boy can not take care of the fish all by himself. He does not ask anyone for help because the fish is supposed to be only his, and his only. Because of his selfishness, the fish ends up dying. He ends up learning the important lesson that sharing is caring. Eventually, the boy buys a new fish that he lets everyone else see and everyone helps the boy take care of it.

Working with a smaller budget than blockbuster films can often lead to a less known and/or experienced main cast. Those expectations are immediately shattered by the casting of child actor and prodigy Jonathan Mack as the boy and Elizabeth Smith as his mother. Mack has slowly been gaining popularity after his big break in the hit film “Wonderful Summer Nights” as the protagonists’ son, Glenn Beck. Smith is of course best known for her role in the mafia film, “The Roaring Twenties”, as a mafia boss’s young wife. Mack truly exceeds expectations in “The Secret Goldfish”, considering he is a child actor and truth be told, Mackey and Smith end up carrying the movie somewhat. That can in some part be attributed to the rest of the cast beng pretty much Hollywood nobody’s.

The film is overall quite simplistic. It is not a cinematic masterpiece, but it does not need to be one. Instead, it does the job it is meant to to well, teach children moral values. Thus, the overall score can not be measured simply like most other films, its academic value to this nation should also be taken into account.

09 March 2021
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