WARNING: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Don’t like? Watch the movie first.
So, even when movie plots aren’t that good, I may watch a movie for the actors in it. See, I’ve got one of those fancy DVR things with the digital cable, and my family rightly subscribes to several movie channels (we’ve been loyal to HBO for years.) So when you look up a movie, it gives you a really short and crappy description along with the actors that are in it.
Mermaids has Cher, Bob Hoskins (from Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Super Mario Bros.) Winona Ryder and is also Christina Ricci’s first film ever. I was like “damn, all of them appeal to me (I’ll watch almost anything Winona is in) so yeah why the hell not?”
It’s an odd story. It’s like a first-person POV book in movie form. Winona Ryder’s character, Charlotte, narrates the whole movie. She lives with her little sister, Kate, who’s a huge swimmer and her rather flighty mother, Rachel. Rachel is played by Cher and she’s a woman who always falls in love with the wrong man (you know, the one’s that are married or something like that) and then up and leaves town when everything falls apart. Charlotte is obsessed with the Catholic faith and is entranced with the new place they move to because there are nuns that live down the road. There’s also a guy that Charlotte falls in love with. The whole movie is about her growing up and her relationship with this guy, her family and her mother’s new boyfriend. The big climax comes after Rachel kisses Charlotte’s love interest. Charlotte decides to do something about it and it ends up with her little sister getting hurt.
I love all the characters. Winona Ryder does a good job of portraying Charlotte and how confused and lost she is growing up. She holds on to this Catholic obsession because she has nothing stable in her life to hold on to otherwise. She yearns for a father figure and her mother always stands in the way of that.
Cher makes a fantastic and eccentric mother in Rachel. She doesn’t cook; all she makes are hors d’oeuvres. She can’t stay in a steady relationship, she doesn’t act age-appropriate and she always runs away from her problems. She’s still a child herself in some respects, and the other characters teach her a lot. She at once seems to embrace change and yet is scared of it. But she really, truly does love her kids and it shows.
Bob Hoskins plays Rachel’s new boyfriend, a lonely divorcee (I think.) He’s an absolutely fantastic character. He loves how weird Rachel is, and he’s weird enough himself to have fun with it and to relate to her kids. But he’s the first guy to ever really challenge Rachel to commit and he doesn’t just sit back and take crap from her. In some ways, he even puts her children first in a situation where she tends to be selfish and doesn’t.
Christina Ricci’s character, Kate, is just adorable and you really feel for her and get all emotional when, during the climax, she gets hurt.
I think the movie was supposed to be funnier than it was, because it seems like it’s trying to be light-hearted in places and it just doesn’t get there. But it is entertaining, and it’s not so light-hearted that you have trouble taking it seriously when need be. It’s also not so serious that you can’t relate to it. So while it’s not as comedic as I think they were going for, it does have a nice atmosphere to it.
It’s set in a little main town in the 60’s and looks rightly that. The costumes are pretty normal with the exception of Cher’s wardrobe (as she’s always trying to dress younger than she is) and the music is appropriate. The soundtrack to the movie features one of Cher’s more popular songs: The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss). If nothing else, you’ll be singing that song for weeks after watching this movie.
Final Thoughts: The movie is entertaining, and well worth multiple watchings. The characters really make it, more than the plot, but the plot doesn’t leave you feeling cheated the way some growing up movies do. 4.5/5 at the very least, for I wouldn’t consider this movie gold but maybe movie silver.
The WB question I’m answering today is:
What was your favorite toy as a child? Do you still have it or did it get lost (or sold/donated) somewhere along the way?
I still have him.
His name is Pooky.
When I was a newborn (I mean serious newborn) my Uncle Brian gave me this Valentine’s day looking teddy bear (I was born in July, you figure it out.) He was all white, with little pink ears and feet. He had brown eyes, a red nose and a cute red smile. He wore a red ribbon with white hearts, and he had a little plastic heart that read “Just for You.”
When I got old enough to be able to name him, I called him Pooky after Garfield’s teddy bear. Same spelling and everything.
I can’t sleep without him, even at 25. He’s now all grey, even his little ears and feet. His eyes are superglued in and his nose is chipped and his smile is kinda evil-looking because it got screwed up too. The ribbon’s gone and has been replaced with an old red bracelet as a collar. The “Just for You” heart fell out too, but I still have that somewhere else.
Here’s a pic: