Film: Blue My Mind

I’m not sure why the Swiss film Blue My Mind (2017) settled on its silly, jarring title—possibly to capitalize on its thematic similarity to Blue is the Warmest Color, which has a similarly edgy coming-of-age sensibility. But the title is less a problem than the fact that the film takes an earnest message and clever premise, and executes both reasonably well without injecting it with much in the way of actual story. The film follows a young woman named Mia (Luna Wedler), whose family has just relocated to Zurich. Mia is a fish out of water at her new school, complicated by the fact that her body is going through changes. In Mia’s unique case, however, puberty means turning into a mermaid; yep, she’s an actual fish out of water. As she struggles to make new friends—including outgoing bad girl Gianna (Zoë Pastelle Holthuizen)—and awkwardly explores her sexuality, her body gradually goes through a dramatic transformation, putting her at odds with her peers and her family.

Blue My Mind takes its high-concept premise, which mixes raw coming-of-age drama with a mix of contemporary fantasy and body horror, and, well, merely executes it. Which is to say, it confidently depicts the literalized metaphor, examining the pressure-cooker challenges of growing up through the unnerving lens of Mia’s fantastical situation. But even as it succeeds in painting that vivid picture, it doesn’t do much with the fantasy tools it wields, and doesn’t tell much of a story. The narrative strategy becomes obvious rather early, and as each successive “Mia is a mermaid!” twist turns up, it carries less and less impact. It deserves points for capturing the daunting landscape of teen peer pressure, and Wedler is effective in a challenging, courageous role. But in the end, it doesn’t go far enough to integrate its genre premise and message into a satisfying story.

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