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Theatrical release poster
Directed by Richard Benjamin
Produced by Lauren Lloyd
Wallis Nicita
Patrick J. Palmer
Suzanne Rothbaum
Written by Patty Dann (book)
June Roberts (screenplay)
Starring Cher
Bob Hoskins
Winona Ryder
Christina Ricci
Music by Jack Nitzsche
Editing by Jacqueline Cambas
Distributed by Orion Pictures
Release date(s) December 14, 1990
Running time 110 min.
Country United States
Language English
Budget $24,000,000 (estimated)

Mermaids is a 1990 comedy-drama film directed by Richard Benjamin and starring Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder (who was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best supporting actress for her role), and Christina Ricci in her first film role. The film is based on the 1986 novel of the same title written by Patty Dann.



Mermaids is narrated in the first person by Charlotte Flax, a 15-year-old girl living with her eccentric mother (whom she calls "Mrs. Flax") and her sister, Kate. Kate calls her mother by her given name, "Rachel". The narration begins in early fall, 1963, just as the girls' mother's latest fling with her married employer ends and she decides to relocate once again. This time, she and the girls move into a new home near a convent in the small town of Eastport, Massachusetts. Charlotte has an obsession with Catholicism and idolizes the nuns living in the convent near the house. She is always reminded by her mother, "Charlotte, we're Jewish." Kate on the other hand loves oceans and swimming and apparently learnt to swim while still a baby. She wins many swimming competitions.

At the new town Charlotte is especially interested in Joe, the 26-year-old handsome caretaker of the convent and local school bus driver while her mother falls in love with local shop owner Lou. At a New Year's costume party Lou asks Mrs Flax to move in with her but she declines and they have a big fight. Mrs Flax asks Joe for a ride back home after which she kisses him. Charlotte sees the kiss and feels that her mother is trying to steal away her love interest. That night she dresses up in her mother's clothes and make up and she and Kate get drunk on wine. She then takes Kate to the convent to see Joe. Kate decides to stay behind and collect rocks while Charlotte goes up to the tower where Joe rings the church bell and ends up losing her virginity to him. While collecting rocks Kate falls into a river and almost drowns to death but is saved by nuns. Mrs Flax is very angry at the turn of events and she and Charlotte have a big fight. Mrs. Flax decided to move again from the town to avoid embarrassment as the whole town is talking about Charlotte and Joe. However in the end Charlotte convinces her to stay in the town at least for another year. In the end Mrs Flax stays behind and her relationship with Lou progresses.


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