Mermaids (1990) - Rotten Tomatoes


Mermaids (1990)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

There's no point in recounting the many production problems and personal hostilities which plagued the filming of Mermaids: the end result is all that matters. Set in the 1960s, the film details the relationship between an unorthodox, unmarried vagabond mother (Cher), and her two daughters. The 15-year-old (Winona Ryder), continually embarrassed by her flamboyant mother, wants to be the world's greatest Catholic; the nine-year-old (Christina Ricci) would be satisfied with becoming the world's champion swimmer. Moving with her family to New England, the older daughter falls in love from afar with the groundskeeper (Michael Schoeffling) from a nearby convent, while Mom takes up with a lonely salesman (Bob Hoskins). Mermaids is perceptively adapted from the warmly comic novel by Patty Dann. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi

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Winona Ryder
as Charlotte Flax
as Mrs. Flax
Bob Hoskins
as Lou Landsky
Christina Ricci
as Kate Flax
Jan Miner
as Mother Superior
Betsey Townsend
as Mary O'Brien
Paula Plum
as Mrs. Crain
Dossy Peabody
as Coach Parker
William Paul Steele
as Boss in Oklahoma
Rex Trailer
as Dr. Reynolds
Pete Kovner
as Perfect Family Father
Patricia Madden
as Perfect Family Mother
Justin Marchisio
as Perfect Family Boy
Caitlin Marie Bottomley
as Perfect Family Girl
Baxter Harris
as Boss in Massachusetts
Carol Moss
as Boss's Fiancee
Denise Cormier
as Pretty Girl in Shoe Store
Al Hodgkins
as Crying Man in Street
Sandra Shipley
as Crying Nun
Russell G. Jones
as Judge at Swim Meet
Shawna Sullivan
as Charlotte (age 5)
Bob Rogerson
as Charlotte's Dad
Tom Kemp
as Carrie's Husband
John McGee
as Kennedy Mourner
Amy Gollnick
as Girl in Bathroom #1
Seacia Pavao
as Girl in Bathroom #2
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Critic Reviews for Mermaids

All Critics (23) | Top Critics (7)

The delightful Ryder, billing notwithstanding, is really the star.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

Self-conscious, eccentric...

June 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Miss Ryder is so good, in fact, that "Mermaids" might have dared to be a tougher, more satisfying movie than the stylish sitcom it is.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3/5

It's awash in mediocrity, waterlogged with innocuousness and redeemed only occasionally by sweet-faced Ryder.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

I found a lot of it preposterous, but I enjoyed that quality. Why do we look at movies? To learn lessons and see life reflected back at us? Sometimes. But sometimes we simply sit there in the dark, stupefied by the spectacle.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Having made something of a specialty of woe-is-me, adolescent angst, Ryder finds a deeper level here, a level of comedy with something genuinely painful mixed in.

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Mermaids


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.

Matthew Samuel Mirliani
Matthew Samuel Mirliani

Super Reviewer

Cute movie. I like Christina and Winona. Cher gets on my nerves a bit, but I think her character is meant to be annoying. Coming of age tale set in the 60's.

Nicki Marie
Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

Mermaids is the story of a family of three ladies, a mother and her two daughters. Winona Ryder plays the eldest daughter who actually looks down her mother. Ryder dreams of becoming a nun so that she can live a pure and honest life. Cher is the mother, who constantly moves her family around whenever she fails at a relationship. Ryder is tested by a young man that she starts to have feelings for while Cher has difficulty adjusting to a serious relationship with Bob Hoskins. It's a fine film on all accounts as both a comedy and a romantic drama. The rift between Cher and Ryder is an easy one to understand and they both play it brilliantly. You always get the feeling that they are tired of one another, but the love is always present. Hoskins is a fantastic and surprising romantic lead. He gives off a strong dominant force, but also comes across as fragile. It's his strength that gradually repairs this family. Christina Ricci stars as the youngest daughter and it's no surprise she became a star. She manages to do young and cute without being annoying. The soundtrack helps to capture the time period very well. The pacing is often off and it feels like an edited down novel, but when it's hitting those high notes in terms of comedy or drama it is a great watch.

Luke Baldock
Luke Baldock

Super Reviewer

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