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I’ve Heard The Mermaids Singing

Director – Patricia Rozema – 1987 – Canada – Cert. PG – 84m

****

Review originally published in Films & Filming, 1988.

Polly – an obsessive amateur photographer with her own darkroom – is blessed with a rich imagination and accompanying fantasy life in which she walks on water and climbs up the side of buildings. Being a scatterbrained social disaster area she is unable to hold down a job. She tells confessionally how the position of temporary secretary in the svelte Gabrielle’s art gallery didn’t work out – a tale relevant to us all, especially in these days of high unemployment. Sheila McCarthy, a perfect piece of casting with her sparklingly expressive eyes, plays Polly.

Gabrielle (Paule Baillargeon) is everything Polly admires – beautiful, intelligent, successful and articulate. Polly falls in love with Gabrielle and dreams of the two of them dressed in fine clothes, talking about art. The reality is that Polly dresses in polyester clothing, is completely inarticulate, and has a poor employment record.

Gabrielle is secretly involved in an art world scam with her business partner; inevitably, Polly’s naive, private world comes up against the sophisticated cunning of Gabrielle’s. The art world proves to be a superficial target for Rozema’s wit, which finds a deeper mark elsewhere, in human foibles.… Read the rest