tek's rating: ½

Mermaids (PG-13)
IMDb; MGM; Rotten Tomatoes; Wikipedia

The first thing to say is that this was, I believe, Christina Ricci's first movie. Anyway, the main character is Charlotte Flax (played by Winona Ryder, who we've always liked). 15-year-old Charlotte narrates the movie as well as being one of the principal characters. It's set in 1963, and Charlotte's single mother, Rachel (played by Cher, who we of course like), is an independent, eccentric woman, who always just up and moves, along with daughters Charlotte and Kate (Ricci), whenever she feels she's stayed in one place too long (which generally means when she's broken up with her latest fling).

Charlotte really doesn't care for this lifestyle at all; despite being Jewish, she has an obsession with Catholocism. When they move to a new town at the start of the movie, Charlotte starts having feelings for 26-year-old Joe, and this inspires in her a mix of intense anticipation and self-recrimination. Also, Rachel meets a shoe salesman named Lou Landsky, a really nice guy whose children are grown and gone, and whose wife left him years ago. They get involved, but Rachel doesn't take it as seriously as he does. She doesn't seem to like the idea of settling down, nor does she have much trust when it comes to men. Lou and her daughters certainly take to each other, though, and it's pretty obvious that sooner or later, Rachel will (hopefully) have to have a bit more faith.

Meanwhile, she and Charlotte occasionally argue. Charlotte of course doesn't want to really talk to anyone, being a confused teenager who's desperately trying to repress her own feelings. And Rachel has no idea how to deal with her, she has a hard enough time with her own life. Eventually... well, there's a climax, a near-tragedy, finally some meaningful mother-daughter communication, and a reasonably satisfying anticlimax where the future looks fairly bright for everyone. It's actually a pretty beautiful movie, I thought, though probably not something I'd want to watch terribly often, if ever again. I dunno....

coming of age index