Miles Schneegass-Wilson’s Anglerfish is a portrait of its protagonist through the people in her life. For the duration of the plot, there are only two: Angela’s boyfriend and Angela’s flatmate. With these two occupying two opposing ends of the spectrum, Angela finds herself (disproportionately) split.
The title is introduced in the opening scene and then illustrated soon after. Anglerfish, Angela’s (Edith Early) long-distance boyfriend (Liam, voiced by Adam Titley) explains on a phone call, have parasitic relationships; the male latches onto the female and feeds from her bloodstream in exchange for sperm. If there was not enough self-awareness accompanying the irony, he immediately needs Angela to confirm that he is not, in fact, needy. This is clearly an old routine; Angela has rewired her life around it. Four of the film’s thirteen minutes establish the dynamics of this unbalanced relationship.
The film takes place indoors entirely, mirroring the draining trapped feeling of the story. The key to a world outside lay with Lissie (Betsy Mayle), Angela’s sensible friend and flatmate. As such, she is bound to create a few significant disturbances in Angela’s notion of a dutiful girlfriend. It is this notion that has dictated her actions since the beginning, going so far as to put off important assignments and events in order to be there for Liam. That it is also a manufactured notion is apparent. Liam ensures to keep her on her toes about being supportive, competent, and loving.
A conflict with Lissie over Liam becomes a tricky turning point. When Liam calls yet again, it is almost as if Angela considers rejecting the call. On the other hand, it also threatens her friendship with Lissie. Finding herself at a crossroads that questions everything she believes, Angela is crowded with doubt and what is a lot like a crisis of faith.
Anglerfish makes a portrait of not only its exhausted protagonist but also of bad relationships—the cause of her exhaustion. The remedy, the support of friends, is painful to accept, and not always available.
Watch Anglerfish Short Film
Anglerfish: A Remedy to Bad Relationships