goldfish memory

2003

Written and Directed by Elizabeth Gill

This blink and you'll miss it comedy gets the pace exactly right for anyone looking for quick fix entertainment. If I had watched it at any other time than during the lesbian baby boom I might have enjoyed it immensely. After all, there's something to be said about a movie where the gay guys are the least promiscuous couple in the story.

However, I did watch it now, during a time when all TV and film seems to to want to convey about lesbians is that we all should be procreating. Right now. As soon as possible and in any way we can possibly manage it. Anyone not born with the mother gene is obviously not a real lesbian and should hand in their pink cards as soon as possible, somebody else needs the oestrogen.

*deep breath*

In the main lesbian storyline of Goldfish Memory we follow the romantic ups and downs of Angie, a TV presenter who after splitting up with the vacuous Clara meets Kate, a kindred spirit as itchy to reproduce as she is. Far be it for these two to enjoy their passion for while, no they're immediately consulting sperm banks and tossing up various methods of conception. I really should know by now that when a lesbian says "would you like to have kids someday?" that actually means "would you like to have kids next week?"

In order to make the fairly convoluted storyline work out they had to go full steam ahead, because they needed to be in full baby mode by the time Angie realises she's actually fallen pregnant the natural way due to a one nighter spent with her gay best friend, Red, who is actually really adorable.

In other news we have several straight couples bouncing and rebounding off each other around the (admittedly gorgeously photographed) streets of Dublin. Tom the philandering Uni professor hits bottom and sees the error of his ways. Meanwhile, Clara returns and basically becomes the new, bisexual Tom, preying on the unwary of the Dublin singles scene. David breaks up with Rosie because he realises he's gay and falls for Red, while Rosie two weeks later is engaged to some guy she met in a bar and randomly bought a drink. But she ditches him on her hens night for a guy who looks half her age.

You see, Dublin is the fishbowl in which everyone has "goldfish memory"; you know, that myth that goldfish only have a three-second memory so they can repeat the exact same things over and over and never learn from them, never get bored. When it comes to people, we apparently repeat our romantic mistakes over and over again and never learn from them. And we do it really, REALLY quickly. We have no time to lose. After all, we could be dead tomorrow. (Or you know, just exhausted.)

No one in the film has a date without screwing. Every screw becomes a relationship. Every relationship leads to marriage proposals or babies or moving in together. If things don't work out you hop on the merry-go-round and do it all over again. Drink. Screw. Propose. Marry, procreate or split up. It doesn't matter if you're gay or straight, it's all the same. Which was the only message in the film that really made sense to me.

Enough already. All this takes place in less than a year. If the timeline in this film were at all accurate, the lesbians got pregnant before saying I love you, the philandering Uni professor was redeemed in a matter of months, and the newly-single girls picked up new shags and convinced them to get engaged with a matter of weeks. It's all enough to give me one fricking huge headache.

If it weren't for the occasional truly witty or insightful line I would have switched the film off as soon as the first lesbian said the word "baby". As it was, the whole thing swam round and round a little too quickly for me. To spin a bad metaphor just that wee bit further, these fish needed some deeper water as well, because all this is just a bit too shallow if you ask me.

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