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Review: Mermaids takes a deep dive into a little-known subculture

Ali Weinstein’s new documentary focuses on a range of characters who practise the art of ‘mermaiding’

Globe and Mail Update

3 out of 4 stars

Directed by
Ali Weinstein

In one classic episode of The Simpsons, Homer daydreams about embracing the life aquatic, singing, à la Disney's The Little Mermaid, of living "under the sea" where "there'll be no accusations, just friendly crustaceans." Marge quickly torpedoes her husband's foolish idea, but she'd have a difficult time going up against the subjects of Ali Weinstein's new documentary, which focuses on a range of characters who practise the art of "mermaiding" – that is, existing, as much as possible, as the fish-tailed creatures. For some, it's escapism. For others, namely the transgender Julz, it's a means of embracing what she has been denied her entire life. Although the subject seems ripe for mockery or easy dismissal or lazy Simpsons references (guilty!), Weinstein treats her subjects with compassion and empathy, while offering curious audiences a nicely cut look at one of the world's little-known subcultures. Under the sea, it sounds good to me.

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