Go Fish (film)

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Go Fish
Film poster
Directed by Rose Troche
Produced by Rose Troche
Guinevere Turner
Written by Rose Troche
Guinevere Turner
Starring Guinevere Turner
V.S. Brodie
Music by Scott Aldrich
Brendan Dolan
Jennifer Sharpe
Cinematography Ann T. Rossetti
Edited by Rose Troche
Distributed by Samuel Goldwyn Company
Release dates
June 10, 1994
Running time
84 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $15,000 (estimated)
Box office $2,408,311 (USA sub-total)

Go Fish is a 1994 American lesbian-themed independent drama film. Directed and co-written (with her then-girlfriend Guinevere Turner) by Rose Troche, the film tells the story of the interrelationships of a small group of lesbian friends in Chicago. The narrative is broken up by a number of discussions on lesbian issues, dream sequences, commentary that breaks the fourth wall and moments of free verse poetry. Go Fish was part of a wave of LGBT-themed films that appeared in the mid-1990s.


Max is a young lesbian student in Chicago who has gone ten months without having sex. She and her roommate and college professor Kia are in a coffee shop when they run into Ely, a hippieish woman with long braided hair, whom Max initially dismisses. Max and Ely do end up going to a movie together. After the movie they return to Ely's place and, after some flirtatious conversation, they kiss. Suddenly a call comes in from Ely's (unseen on-screen) partner Kate, with whom Ely has been in a long-distance relationship for more than two years, which puts a bit of a damper on things.

Ely decides to cut off all her hair, ending up with a very short butch style. She runs into Max in a bookstore and Max almost does not recognize her.

Kia's girlfriend Evy returns home. Her ex-boyfriend Junior is there. Evy's mother confronts her, saying that Junior told her that he had spotted Evy at a gay bar. Evy's mother kicks her out and Evy flees to Kia's place and Max invites her to live with them.

Ely and her roommate Daria throw a dinner party and, after a spirited game of I Never, Max and Ely reconnect. They make plans to go out again and then begin kissing. They have several phone conversations, in the course of which Ely reveals that she's "sort of broken up" with Kate. They get together for a second date but they never make it out of the apartment. Max ends up trimming Ely's fingernails. This turns into foreplay and they have sex. Intercut with the closing credits are shots and short scenes of Max and Ely's burgeoning relationship.


The issues[edit]

  • Kia teaches a Women's studies class and has her students list off lesbians from history. Mixed in with the serious answers (e.g. Sappho) are humorous examples like Marilyn Quayle, Peppermint Patty and "the entire cast of Roseanne." When a student asks why they're even making the list, Kia replies that throughout lesbian history there's been a lack of evidence about what women's lives were about, and that lesbian lives and relationships barely exist on paper at all. It's by keeping that in mind and understanding the power of history that "we" (presumably meaning lesbians) will want to start to change history.
  • Following a movie, Ely and Max (played by the film's co-writer and associate producer) have something of a meta-conversation about the responsibility of queer filmmakers to represent the community.
  • Max and Ely talk about the butch/femme dichotomy and gender roles and expectations.
  • Daria has sex with a man and on her way home is challenged by a "jury," who question whether a woman who has sex with a man can call herself a lesbian. She contrasts how a gay man who has sex with a woman is characterized as being "bored, drunk [or] lonely" but if a lesbian has sex with a man "her whole life choice becomes suspect."
  • On a lighter note, several of the characters debate their favorite term for vagina. Suggestions include "honeypot," "love mound," "girlpatch," "cunt" and "bearded clam."

Awards and nominations[edit]

External links[edit]