Memory Loss and a Pandemic Are a Horrifying Combination

Emma (Olivia Cooke) gives her husband a painful but necessary reminder of who she is.
Emma (Olivia Cooke) gives her husband a painful but necessary reminder of who she is.
Screenshot: IFC Films

It’s tough to hear about any stories covering fictional pandemics, since we’re going through an all-too-real one right now, but the one in Little Fish is more of a metaphor for something else. In the first trailer for this new sci-fi film, Ready Player One’s Olivia Cooke struggles to keep her marriage intact during a global crisis of memory loss.


IFC Films has released the first trailer for Chad Hartigan’s Little Fish, which stars Cooke and Jack O’Connell as newlyweds Emma and Jude, who find themselves in the midst of a global pandemic for something called Neural Inflammatory Affliction, or N.I.A. It causes victims to suddenly lose their memories. This could be something as small as not knowing your spouse’s favorite color or as significant as forgetting how to fly a helicopter...while you’re still flying it.

As we see in the trailer, Jude comes down with N.I.A.—leaving Cooke’s Emma to try and keep his memory intact as he seeks a variety of controversial treatments for his condition. Much like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, the movie looks to be about the power of memory and relationships—although this one more directly deals with the ongoing health crisis of Alzheimer’s, which impacts families around the world.

Little Fish arrives in theaters and on-demand on February 5, 2021.

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Ready Player One’s Bates Motel’s Olivia Cooke 

We don’t talk about that “movie”.