(1987)Written and Directed by Patricia Rozema
Starring Sheila McCarthy, Paule Baillargeon, Ann-Marie MacDonald
One of the nice things in the days of video stores was the ability to find oddball movies that you never heard of. You could glance at the boxes on the walls and find things that were obscure, or old, or too independent for the big studios. That’s where I stumbled upon I’ve Heard the Mermaids Singing.
Poly Vandersma (Sheila McCarthy) is a klutzy young woman who ekes out a living doing temporary secretarial work, her job choices hindered by the fact she’s a lousy typist. But she is hired for a permanent position by Gabrielle (Paule Baillargeon), the owner of a private art gallery. When Gabrielle ex-lover Mary (Ann-Marie MacDonald), things start to get complicated.
This is not a plot-driven movie. Most of its joys are from McCarthy’s performance, which is utterly charming. As the movie progresses, she learns to be just a bit more competent.
The film was Canadian, and has often been listed among the greatest Canadian films of all time.
McCarthy went on to have a long career in TV and film. Most recently, she appeared in The Umbrella Academy as Agnes, the owner of a diner.