The Value of the Baby in the Basket: Will audiences accept a movie in which a janitor enters into a sexual relationship with a fish-creature? Yes and no. This movie plays with the idea of interspecies sex, but then reveals at the end that no, she’s actually a merperson herself, so it’s cool. It turns out that she’s a literal baby in a basket: She was found on the shore, and those marks on her neck everybody assumed were scratches were actually gills. At first she just seems like a random everywoman, but then we find out she’s got a benighted destiny that the movie is fulfilling. Like all baby in a basket stories, the movie is having it both ways, letting us identify with an ordinary person in an extraordinary situation, then, when that’s stretched credibility too far, assuring us that no, this is an extraordinary person merely fulfilling her destiny. It’s also a cheat that allows our star-crossed lovers to be together after all. It works in a fairy-tale-ish sort of way, but not as drama, because it’s too neat.
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