Feminist February is off with a bang! Or quite possibly a whimper. It’s my pick this time around, chosen primarily because this film was written, directed, and produced by women. Plus there’s that T.S. Eliot reference in the title.
I don’t know how to react to this one, but Christa might. She usually does.
I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing
Where to Watch:
A perpetual temp with a photography hobby takes a job working for a curator with somewhat bizarre results.
The Uncondensed Version:
Polly, aforementioned temp, is way ahead of her time as evidenced by the format of this film: 1980s video diary. She was a vlogger (sorry, Christa) before vlogging was a thing.
It’s pretty clear that Polly doesn’t quite have her shit together, but her house is a hipster’s dream complete with darkroom to develop the photos she takes around the city. Oddly, the darkroom seems to function as living quarters for plants…so I’m not sure those plants will be alive for long unless they need little to no sunlight. Too nitpicky? Too nitpicky.
So Polly lives alone with a cat and a goldfish that lives in a huge jar. Again, surprised that it’s alive. Polly considers herself a spinster at the age of 31??!?!? I almost spat out my tea at that.
To return to the (admittedly somewhat thin) plot, Polly takes a temp job as a secretary for a French gallery owner/curator, Gabrielle.
Polly seems to have a pretty big crush on Gabrielle, who is gorgeous and sophisticated in an Ingrid Bergman-esque kind of way. Okay, I’m sorry, all women with vaguely European accents—I have probably compared you to Ingrid Bergman at some point.
Anyway, Polly seems hopeful about their relationship and, confusingly, they do go to a Japanese restaurant for squid. Is it a date? Is it dinner? Is it all of the above? Unclear, but when Gabrielle offers Polly a permanent position, she eagerly agrees.
Everything seems to be going quite swimmingly until Gabrielle’s ex, Mary, rolls into town. Gabrielle and Mary become an item again, which makes Polly super jealous and have very odd dreams/fantasies. Though Polly is invited over to hang out with the two, she becomes something of a third wheel as she’s not sophisticated/hipster/chic enough to stay on their level.
And, as it turns out, Gabrielle gets into heavy existential shit when she’s drunk. I mean, she is French. Gabrielle feels like she has no talent and is wasting her life, unable to create anything of beauty or significance. In an effort to make Gabrielle feel better, Polly asks to see her work. It’s so beautiful that Polly decides to hang it in the gallery. Plus it prob wouldn’t hurt her chances with Gabrielle. But does it help? As it turns out, the work isn’t really Gabrielle’s. And, even worse, Gabrielle insults Polly’s photos. Not cool, Gabrielle.
Let’s just say this film goes super dark and bizarre when Polly discovers the truth about who created the paintings. Seriously, it’s pretty fucked up.
3/5 Pink Panther Heads
That’s the last time I pick a film based on T.S. Eliot references in the title. I was left wondering what exactly the point was, and I feel the ending came out of nowhere. Polly is pretty adorable, though. She’s kind of like a neurotic Molly Ringwald.