Title: Mermaids Director: Richard Benjamin Year: 1990 Run time: 1hr 50m
“Charlotte (Ryder) is an adolescent girl torn between her blossoming passions for a handsome caretaker (Michael Schoeffling)… and her desire to be a nun (a tough calling for a girl who’s Jewish). Complicating her already precarious teen angst is a little sister (Ricci), a determined would-be swimmer she affectionately calls “fishhead” and their mother (Cher), a non-traditional, sexy, flamboyant woman who relocates them to a new town every time she causes a hint of scandal - which is often. But even as their personal styles clash, these three incredibly different individuals begin to see that nothing - not even a life-threatening tragedy - can tear apart the bonds of family.”
1:40 - In slow motion, butterfly looks really weird. 4:34 - Marshmallow kebabs sound intriguing. Not all on the same plate as the other food though. 7:07 - “The whole point of moving is so that everything can be different.” 13:33 - Can you love someone for the way they throw? 14:23 - When I hear Big Girls Don’t Cry I can’t do anything but quote the start of Dirty Dancing. 17:57 - Good tunes in this film. 23:14 - Why would an American kid want to swim the English channel? 24:33 - “All Charlotte’s ages are difficult.” 26:47 - Why is he there if he has no kids? 36:45 - “I’m never growing old,” Cher says. Never a truer word spoken. 44:36 - She must get through a lot of cocktail sticks. 49:46 - Weeping Angels. 58:26 - She’s gone completely crazy, right? 59:39 - When do the mermaids appear? 1:01:15 - “I’m a grown up, I don’t run away, I move on.” 1:06:10 - That’s religion summed up right there. “Weird things happen.” 1:13:04 - There’s the mermaid! 1:22:21 - As expected, baby Christina Ricci is a scene-stealer. 1:31:12 - That happening as you loose your virginity could properly scar you for life. 1:36:50 - Having two doors is really detrimental to arguments. 1:42:42 - “Trees and weather can really get to a person.”
I was vaguely aware of this film, perhaps from people previously in my life saying it was good, but I’d never seen it and had no idea what it was about. I’m not sure I even knew that Cher was in it, and it was certainly a surprise to see such a gorgeous baby Ricci turn up and do an incredible job.
I think she was my favourite character, although I’m not sure that’s how it was meant to be. But they were all brilliant, eclectic but somehow coming together to be a believable, if fraught, family. And it was just endlessly fascinating watching them interact, I probably could have watched it all night long.
It’s a good story too, how a family finally manages to stop running and face up to their individual and collective demons. Really, very good. I just was upset about the title, which still doesn’t really make sense to me and doesn’t lend itself to the film under the cover.