[Note from Frolic: We are so excited to bring you this new series: Frolic Podcast of the Week! Each week, we’ll ask one of our great podcasters to share a bit about themselves. Up next, we have Laura from The Mermaid Podcast! She’s sharing the three best mermaid movies of all time. Take it away!]
You probably know every word to The Little Mermaid soundtrack by heart. At this point, Ariel’s story is a cultural touchstone, the inspiration for so many childhood (and adult!) afternoons spent swimming around a pool with ankles held close together, and a protest anthem for bright young women who are so sick of swimming and more than ready to stand. Allow me to introduce you to the three best mermaid films that will capture your heart and make you believe that anything is possible.
This 80’s movie was an instant classic — and the film that started me on the path to becoming enough of a mermaid expert to launch a podcast. As a young boy, Allen (Tom Hanks) is saved from drowning by a beautiful young mermaid (Daryl Hannah). Twenty years later, mermaid Madison seeks him out in New York City. As Madison and Allen fall deeper in love, Madison must keep her identity secret, learn human customs (with much hilarity), and avoid an eccentric scientist bent on proving mermaids are real. The scene where Madison appears out of the sea, fully naked in front of a bunch of tourists at the Statue of Liberty, will live rent-free in my head forever. The entire film is filled with iconic New York backgrounds and neuroses from a delightfully comedic cast. It’s the quintessential fish-out-of-water love story. If mermaid love can make it there, it can make it anywhere!
Watch on Disney+ and Prime Video.
Aquamarine has all the bubblegum charm you’d expect from an early 2000’s teen fantasy comedy. Set in Tampa, BFF’s Claire and Hailey (Emma Roberts and marginally famous pop star JoJo) are upset because Hailey’s mom might move her to Australia. After a big storm, they meet mermaid Aquamarine (Sara Paxton) who says she’ll grant them a wish if they can help her prove to her sea-god father that love exists. The trio set out to help Aquamarine snag her crush, floppy-haired lifeguard Robert. There’s an amorphous pack of mean girls and other eccentric townspeople, but what really stands out are 1) Aquamarine’s fingernails change color with her mood and 2) Aquamarine takes magazine dating advice very literally. It’s wacky and terrible in the best way, because while Raymond (understandably) doesn’t fall in love with Aquamarine in just three days, her friends Claire and Hailey do. It’s the perfect Frozen-esque ending for a mermaid princess comedy.
Watch on Prime Video, iTunes, YouTube and Google Play.
Mermaids, A Documentary
Not to be confused with the Animal Planet mockumentary, Mermaids, A Feature Documentary, follows the lives of real-life modern mermaids. While The Mermaid Podcast covers mermaid history and folklore, some of my favorite interviews have been with people who are involved in “mermaiding” – the real life sport and subculture around swimming in mermaid tails. Director Ali Weinstein follows five extraordinary tail-donning women, and the creator of Daryl Hannah’s on-screen mermaid tail in Splash. Audiences voyage between mermaid theme parks, conventions, tail-making studios, and deep into the ocean where transforming into the empowered icon of the mermaid is possible. For romance fans, your new OTP will be the scene where Cookie, The Harlem Mermaid, marries “mer wrangler” Ralph in a swimming pool at a mermaid convention. It’s true that every mer-person can find their match, but the film’s real magic is in showing how donning a mermaid tail helps each person fall more in love with themselves.
Watch on iTunes, Vimeo, Google Play, Prime Video.
Don’t forget to check out The Mermaid Podcast wherever you get your podcasts!