I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing, filmmaker Patricia Rozema’s well-loved debut feature, is about to reach new ears and eyes.The quirky comedy-drama, which first won audiences over in 1987, is getting a new theatrical release, beginning today in New York City, continuing March 18 in Los Angeles, then expanding to 10 other cities in the U.S.
and Canada. It was digitally restored in 2017 for Canada’s 150th anniversary as a nation.“I feel ecstatic,” writer-director Rozema says about the re-release. “It’s really moving to have your work from some 35 years ago still create enough excitement for people to want to release it. … I’m excited to share it with a new generation if we can draw them out.”The film follows Polly (Sheila McCarthy), an awkward, “organizationally impaired” 31-year-old who hasn’t found her place in the world.
She lives in a dumpy apartment with her cat, does temp work, and finds her one joy in taking photographs. Her new temp assignment is a secretarial job at a Toronto art gallery run by an elegant, cosmopolitan older woman, Gabrielle (Paule Baillargeon).Sheila McCarthy's Polly contemplates herselfGabrielle becomes fond of Polly and hires her on a permanent basis, and Polly, who’s had a couple of brief relationships with men, develops romantic feelings for Gabrielle. “I think I kind of fell in love with the curator,” Polly says, speaking directly to the audience, as she often does in the film.