Saturday, March 23, 2019


Movie Name: Mermaids
Year of Release: 1990
Director: Richard Benjamin
Starring: Cher, Winona Ryder, Bob Hoskins, Christina Ricci, Michael Schoeffling, Caroline McWilliams, Paula Plum, Jan Miner, Betsy Townsend
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 5 
View trailer

Synopsis and Review:
Actor/Director Richard Benjamin followed his big 80s comedy "My Stepmother is an Alien", with two films in 1990, "Mermaids" being the one causing the major splash, since it featured Cher in her first role since "Moonstruck" and the already well known Winona Ryder. The film takes place in the 60s, when the progressive and somewhat liberal Mrs. Flax moves in with her two daughters, into a small town in Massachusetts. Mrs. Flax has been moving herself and her daughters all over the country, whenever she gets involved with some man, and things eventually go awry (or he turns out to be married). In this new town, Mrs. Flax starts something with local business owner Lou, while her daughters enroll in school and after school activities. The mildly tempered and religious/conservative Charlotte however, as much as she wants to stray away from the path her mom has carved for herself, finds a deep infatuation with Joe, a young local handyman. The constant strain between Charlotte and her mom finally boils over when Mrs. Flax once again wants to move and Charlotte decides against it.
"Mermaids" is a small film about family members learning to live with each other, and two particular women growing up and learning to live with their choices. It's a film that has enough comedic and dramatic moments to make it fairly watchable, even if the dynamics of the narrative itself falls short of providing enough depth about the characters that are being showcased. As much as Cher and Winona Ryder try to give their characters nuance, there really isn't much there, though of the two, Ryder actually makes Charlotte a more interesting watch, with her idiosyncrasies, and her ultimate fears of becoming just like her mother. It's a film that lives from these relationships, and from capturing a time that has passed by (there are some interesting traces that are captured from this film to Jonathan Kaplan's "Love Field", which would be released the following year with Michelle Pfeiffer). The most memorable elements of this film are indeed the central cast, which make this an entertaining endeavor. The cinematography from Howard Atherton is impeccable, as is the score from Jack Nitzsche.