Mermaids - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Mermaids Reviews

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October 11, 2017
It's true, the female protagonists are too self-absorbed to engage our sympathies. This makes the film suffer and thus it lacks a good score.
June 17, 2017
A Cher fan's dream come true, a lively tale that allows her to play the kind of free-loving free spirit she used to sing about in 1970s numbers like 'Dixie Girl'. Oh yeah, the very young Ryder and Ricci are great.
December 14, 2016
haha, why is this called "mermaids"? this movie was quite funny; & awkward at times. but funny. i really loved Winona's character -- & i like Winona, so there's that.
½ October 28, 2016
Saw this when it first came out and I remember my Mom had the soundtrack which she played on road trips. It's an entertaining film with a an excellent performance from Bob Hoskins, but the whole cast is good, including young Christina Ricci and Wynona Ryder.
October 25, 2016
Based in the 1960's, there is a teenage girl, living with her mother sister, just trying to survive. Starring Cher and Winona Ryder, this movie shows you the life of Charlotte Flax (Ryder) as she moves to a new and tries to get her life back together. When Charlotte falls hard for the care taker for the church across the road from her house, her mother, Mrs. Flax (Cher), starts a rocky relationship with a local business man. With a strong character like Charlotte and an appropriate amount of comedic relief, this movie has some great perks. But as we all know with perks, come flaws. Joe (the caretaker) is not a well put together character. I also believe they could have gotten someone else to play Joe. Another flaw is that Mrs. Flax has a pretty inappropriate love life, especially for a mother of two. Overall, I would rate this movie a 4 out 5. If cliche 90's movies are your cup of tea, I suggest you grab some popcorn and watch this movie.
August 27, 2016
A very charming and quirky coming of age story with great cast. I really enjoyed it.
February 19, 2016
love the movie really a must see.
November 28, 2015
Despite Cher (who is excellent in this) getting top billing, this is Winona Ryder's movie and she carries it with ease. A sweet, funny, sometimes preposterous coming-of-age tale that is perfectly cast and manages to be far superior to its original source material (yes, this is based on a book).

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
November 11, 2015
The youngest Flax child was the absolute best part of the movie. Surprised that it turned out to be Christina Ricci's first role. Great tomboy elements with a level of candid seriousness that was lost in the other roles. She was so down to earth, beleivable and fun! One could edit down the footage from the film into a better, more understandable coming of age arc then what was presented here and much of the plot felt unnecessary to service the story.
August 13, 2015
cher and the guy from who framed roger rabbit... in a movie...?
May 6, 2015
Incredibly well acted! Unique coming of age story
½ February 7, 2015
You drive like old people make love.

A mother in the 60s and her two daughters move often, almost any time an issue arises of any kind. The mother struggles to find love but not problems. One day they arrive in a small town and things are different. The oldest daughter is starting school, falling in love, and seeing things in a coming of age way. The mother also starts falling in love and fights it the best she can. Can a family finally form and they all obtain happiness?

"Sometimes I feel like you're the child and I'm the grownup. I can't imagine me ever being inside you."

Richard Benjamin, director of Westworld, Catch-22, Deconstructing Henry, Marci X, The Money Pit, Milk Money, and Made in America, delivers Mermaids. The storyline for this picture is very good and a rare coming of age film told from the female perspective. I also loved the unique nature of the mother (who reminded me of one of my best friend's mothers from my childhood). The acting is also better than one may anticipate and the cast includes Cher, Winona Ryder, Bob Hoskins, Christina Ricci, Paula Plum, and Michael Schoeffling.

"Are you always this aggressive after sex?"

This is another film I came across on HBO and remember hearing good things about. I love Bob Hoskins and this was a wonderfully written and executed picture. Ryder and Cher deliver underrated powerful female performances and their interactions were priceless. I strongly recommend seeing this gem.

"She is not just another woman...she's my wife!"

Grade: A-
½ December 29, 2014
So cute and self aware.....god do I hate this movie.
November 22, 2014
Blimey, this is a pretty bad film. I would have expected better from Bob Hoskins but I suppose he was just milking his hollywood career while it lasted. The whole film is so drab and predictable.
½ August 7, 2014
A film about Mermaids starring Winona Ryder sounded like a definite viewing pleasure in my books.

The central complaint I have about the film Mermaids is that the title is misleading. I presumed that the movie might have been some kind of family friendly fantasy film about Mermaids, but in actual fact the title has little relevance to the film whatsoever. I couldn't even imagine a symbolic purpose for the title because it was just seriously confusing. So one of the main reasons I watched Mermaids was because I presumed its title would have relevance to the film in some retrospect. The only sense it made was that there was one scene in which Rachel Flax dressed up as mermaid for a New Years party, as well as the fact that are a lot of references to aquatic activity in the story, ranging from the mermaid costume to Kate Flax being an excellent swimmer and Lou Landsky setting up a bedroom to be designed like the bottom of the ocean. Perhaps the relevance of all this was covered in the original source novel, but in the film adaption I could not make sense of it.
But regardless of the fact that Mermaids was not about mermaids at all, I was surprised just how great a coming of age film it was. Admittedly, a lot of the themes seem a little ridiculous such as Charlotte Flax's obsession with becoming a nun even though she is Jewish and just how all the religious beliefs of hers dominate her life, and of course the fact that the entire Flax family must move every time that Rachel is involved with some kind of scandal or bad breakup. But still, there was a lot of heart in the film and it dealt with some serious coming of age issues such as coming to terms with one's sexuality, responsibility and complex family relationships. The coming of age issues in Mermaids are actually pretty deep even if try go off track a bit at times. I don't know what it is like to grow up as a woman or in the 1960's, but Mermaids projected a lot of insight and understanding into its themes of motherhood, sisterhood and coming of age. Mermaids walks a tricky line between being a comedy and a drama, but thanks to firm direction from Richard Benjamin, it manages to end up succeeding as a compelling and deep drama which also has a lighthearted tone of comedy to it so that it doesn't end up being too melodramatic. It has some moments of inconsistency because it occasionally charters into farfetched territory and concepts which I didn't find that I really believed to be a part of the story, but as a whole there were some interesting ideas touched upon in Mermaids which were done with a truly powerful dramatic atmosphere and a touch of comedy along the way. So while there may be a few plot dynamics that are hard to comprehend as all that sensible, Mermaid transcends that thanks Yo its natural charm and a script which is able to casually play them off as part of the story while supplying a lot of strong dialogue to the actors to work with. It tells an interesting story in a complex context, but most importantly it creates a lot of good characters which demand the actors to be great in the roles. Thanks to perfect casting it is no surprise that they come out successfully, but the other thing that helps the atmosphere of the film progress is its visual style. The cinematography is the main one because it keeps its distance from the characters in most scenes but zeroes in on their facial expressions during the intense moments. It captures the nice scenery of the film as well, so the entire film proves to be a stylish feature.
But like I said, the most essential element of Mermaids is the talents of its cast.
Winona Ryder gives a performance which reminds me why I find her to be one of my all time favourite actresses. In quite possibly the bests performance from the early stages of her career, Winona Ryder gives a leading effort which hits the mark spot on. Although her character experiences the most farfetched elements of the story, Winona Ryder is easily able to make the ahold experience feel organic because of how she attaches herself to the character with such fearless dedication to the part. She really puts herself into the skin of the character she is playing and captures all the uncertainties and awkward elements of the character, projecting a physicality which shows her acting out every situation as if it is naturally coming to her and delivering her lines with a true grip on the complicated emotional state of mind that she is constantly in. Winona Ryder nails her performance dead on in Mermaids, and it is really one of the finest efforts of her career.
Cher manages to make herself a capable foil. In an interesting contrast to the standard mother-daughter archetype in cinema, Cher plays the more free-spirited character of the two and uses her natural charisma to grasp that. Cher manages to exercise a lot of comic spirit in Mermaids without neglecting to put dramatic depth into her character, and without trouble she is able to be both funny and dramatic while also establishing a complex mother-daughter chemistry with Winona Ryder as well as Christina Ricci. Cher exerts a lot of natural acting skill in Mermaids while subtly playing out her sex appeal well, so she manages to make herself a charming and genial presence in Mermaids.
Christina Ricci also makes an excellent debut. The talented actress had come a long way since Mermaids, and it is excellent to look back and see where it all started when she was simply a little child. In Mermaids, it is impossible to dislike her. She shows off a lot of childish spirit and charisma, as well as a serious passion for the part. She combines this with her natural cuteness as well so that it is easy for the viewer to sympathise for her. Christina Ricci is both easy to take seriously as an actress and admirable for being a cute child in Mermaids which is a difficult balance to find, and she shares an excellent chemistry with both Winona Ryder and Cher. Christina Ricci is a great casting decision in Mermaids.
Bob Hoskins is also a nice presence because of his natural charm as an actor. He is easily able to deliver rough edged material, and in Mermaids he is able to do that but still play a charming and friendly figure at the same time. Bob Hoskins gets the part right by playing it with a mix of a naturally likable persona with a fearless determination to be really dramatic about things, walking the balance between them very well. He interacts with the young cast using plenty of charm and shares an interesting romantic chemistry with Cher. Bob Hoskins does his job to make Mermaids even better and succeeds with ease.

So although Mermaids has a misleading title and some farfetched subject matter, it is strengthened by an exceptional cast and a powerful script which carries its coming-of-age themes very easily.
½ April 18, 2014
Not being a teenage girl, I'm thinking I'm not really the target audience for this film. However, despite this, I did enjoy this fairly standard coming of age story. Ryder is a 1960s teenager who rebels against her mother's unconventional ways by becoming Catholic (they're Jewish) and wanting to become a nun. Christina Ricci plays the younger sister and Cher plays the outrageous mother who "cooks" them hourdeuves for dinners and moves them town to town at the drop of a hat. Ryder falls in love with the hunk from "Sixteen Candles" and Cher finds a good man in Bob Hoskins, and it all plays out how you might expect, but it's well acted with likable performances. Richard Benjamin directed and he's someone I think I want to take a closer look at. I know he made some garbage like "My Step Mother is an Alien" but he also directed some magical films like "My Favorite Year." It had been quite a while since I've seen Winona Ryder in anything (except for a small part in "Black Swan") and I'd forgotten how much I liked her as an actress. It was also funny to see a super young Christina Ricci as Ryder's younger sister in her film debut. There's also a nice score by Jack Nitzsche to top things off. I'd never seen this film before and was pleasantly surprised.
½ April 10, 2014
Mermaids Film Review
Starring Winona Ryder, Cher, Christina Ricci and a host of other renowned and noble 90's stars, I was expecting Mermaids to be gripping and worthy of my time. I can tell you now, it wasn't.
Portrayed as a 'comedy drama' set in the 1960's, this heinous monstrosity is definitely not comical (unless of course you categorise painful attempts at humour as funny.) I will not waste my time recounting the agonising puns littering the film because I can tell you now; it would be like tearing your intestines out with a blunt knife.
Director Richard Benjamin, seems to have simply ignored myriad crucial details in the film, one of them being that the bothersome, obtuse Charlotte (Ryder) wants to be a nun... now there is nothing wrong with that, of course, but there is one craterous chasm in this plot: Charlotte is in fact Jewish. Even in the 90's, there was still no Jewish equivalent to nuns. I have some advice for Mr Benjamin: research your story lines before you write them, ok?
I know this bland-to-ridiculous film is deemed as a 'cult classic', but in reality it is just as tedious as every other run-of-the-mill teen movie. It clings on like a limpet to the typical conventions.. you know the score: girl moves in to a new house.. meets a guy.. falls in love etc. etc. Except in this film, 15 year old Charlotte (let me make this clear: fifteen year old Charlotte) falls in love with 26, yes 26 year old Joe. Let me tell you this love story didn't create enough sparks to light a barbecue.
Now let me tell you something that is so ludicrous you'll cringe whilst reading it. Charlotte decides to take a trip to the doctors. What for I hear you ask? Well she takes a trip to the doctors as she has had a pregnancy scare. So you're probably thinking, ok, not too abnormal for somebody to have a pregnancy scare right? But what if I told you that Charlotte was indeed, a virgin. Now I'm sure that you don't need the 'birds and the bees' talk. It doesn't take a genius to work out that you can't be impregnated by simply just sitting there.
If you think that's ridiculous, then wait until you hear that Charlotte kissed Joe (after her mum had had a go on him first of course) even though, at first, she believed any contact with a boy was satanic (you know because of the whole 'I want to be a nun' thing she had going on.) Weird right? But then she goes back to thinking that all contact with boys is evil and scrubs at her face to get the 'cooties' off. Confusing I know. You would have thought she had made up her own damn mind by now right? Well.. no she still hasn't. Later on in the film she decides that she (a fifteen year old girl) wants to have sex with twenty six year old Joe. So she gets drunk, and puts her mum's clothes on and I'm sitting there like 'whatever look you're going for, you missed'. Charlotte also thinks that it's all fine and dandy letting her 9 year old sister (Ricci) get drunk too. Thinking she looks as feisty and fierce as Beyoncé would have in the 60's, Charlotte and her drunk 9 year old sister stumble their way down to the lake. I bet you can already tell this is a recipe for disaster. So whilst Charlotte is up in the bell tower doing the 'dirty' with Joe, she leaves her drunk sister by the lake with rocks in her pocket- yes I did say rocks. I'm sure I don't need to tell you what happens here.
This film is without question the most irrational, illogical and senseless 'comedy drama' known to man. There is simply no way whatsoever to make sense of this pathetic excuse for a film and I fail to understand how the 'stars'(and I use the term stars very loosely) in this film we're able to credibly continue their careers after this film was released.
March 29, 2014
Directed by Richard Benjamin (The Money Pit (1986), My Stepmother Is an Alien (1988) and Made in America (1993)) and based upon Patty Dann's 1986 novel. This is a sweet comedy-drama which is a film about family, growing pains and coming of age in 60's America. It has a very good cast and it is able to give lessons about life and getting on with it along the way. In 1963, 15 year old Charlotte Flax (Winona Ryder) moves with her mother Rachel (Cher) and younger sister Kate (Christina Ricci) from Texas to the small town of Eastport, Massachusetts. Charlotte is obsessed with Catholicism, and she comes to admire nuns who live in a nearby convent. But, she begins to develop feelings for local church bell-ringer Joe (Michael Schoeffling), while Rachel finds some solace in local shop owner Lou Landsky (Bob Hoskins). After Charlotte has an intimate encounter with Joe that only involves kissing, she tries fasting to repent for her sins, and she manages to convince herself that she's pregnant, even though she's still a virgin. This is a very quirky film, but it has some odd little details throughout, and it manages to be moving and amusing at the same time. Cher was allegedly a nightmare to work with, seeing off 2 other directors before Benjamin came on board, and having Emily Lloyd (originally cast as Charlotte) sacked too.
March 28, 2014
A story of a single mum in the 60s. Good movie but looked very dated. I seen it years ago and think it was better back then. Winona Ryder always plays odd parts and christi ricci was very young.
Super Reviewer
½ December 9, 2013
I enjoyed it. The energy drops somewhere around the middle, but picks up quickly. The story is well told and unique. Though Cher is spectacular in the main role, it really is Winona Ryder who makes the film worth watching. She is, as usual, captivating, and makes an excellent and amiable narrator. She is perfectly cast and steals the show.
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