I've Heard the Mermaids Singing

Watch I've Heard the Mermaids Singing

"Isn't life the strangest thing you've ever seen?"
  • R
  • 1987
  • 1 hr 21 min
  • 6.7  (1,894)

"I've Heard The Mermaids Singing" is a quirky and thought-provoking Canadian film from 1987 that tells the story of Polly (Sheila McCarthy), an eccentric and inexperienced secretary who falls in love with the art world. Polly is a shy, awkward and introverted girl who spends most of her time typing letters in a gallery. But she's also an artist who takes photographs in her spare time. One day, her life takes a turn when she meets Gabrielle (Paule Baillargeon), a confident and charismatic curator who offers Polly a job at the gallery.

Under Gabrielle's influence, Polly discovers a world of avant-garde art, intellectual conversations, and queer relationships that she never knew existed. However, her passion for art and her longing for acceptance soon become a source of conflict within her. She wants to be appreciated for her art and her personality, yet she also wants to fit in and be seen as a professional in her workplace.

The film's title, "I've Heard The Mermaids Singing," is a reference to a T.S. Eliot poem that describes the beauty and mystery of art. The essence of the poem is reflected in the film's exploration of the complex relationship between art, creativity, and personal identity.

Polly's character represents the universal struggle between conformity and individuality, and how it's possible to feel trapped between the two. Her job at the gallery offers her an opportunity to express herself and be part of a community that values her creativity, but it also exposes her to the harsh realities of competition, ego wars, and social expectations.

The film also touches on themes of queer identity, gender roles, and feminism. Gabrielle, Polly's boss, is a lesbian who challenges traditional gender roles and encourages Polly to embrace her own sexual identity. Their relationship is characterized by a mix of admiration, mentorship, and attraction, which adds a layer of complexity to the narrative.

Another intriguing aspect of the film is the use of visual storytelling. Director Patricia Rozema employs creative and experimental techniques such as jump cuts, freeze frames, and voice-over narration to convey Polly's inner thoughts and emotions. The result is a cinematic experience that is both whimsical and intimate.

The film's soundtrack also deserves a special mention. The eclectic mix of classical music, folk songs, and contemporary pieces enhances the mood of each scene and adds to the film's dreamy, surreal atmosphere.

"I've Heard The Mermaids Singing" is a gem of a film that deserves more recognition. It's a playful and insightful exploration of art, identity, and self-discovery that manages to be both entertaining and profound. Sheila McCarthy's performance as Polly is a tour-de-force that captures the essence of the character's innocence, curiosity, and complexity. Paule Baillargeon and Ann-Marie MacDonald also deserve praise for their nuanced and affecting portrayals of Gabrielle and Mary, Polly's supportive roommate.

In conclusion, "I've Heard The Mermaids Singing" is a must-see for anyone who appreciates independent cinema, queer culture, and experimental storytelling. It's a film that reminds us of the transformative power of art and the importance of staying true to ourselves, no matter where life takes us.

I've Heard the Mermaids Singing is a 1987 comedy with a runtime of 1 hour and 21 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.7.

I've Heard the Mermaids Singing
Where to Watch I've Heard the Mermaids Singing
I've Heard the Mermaids Singing is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download and buy on demand at Amazon Prime, Apple TV and Amazon. Some platforms allow you to rent I've Heard the Mermaids Singing for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 21 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.7  (1,894)