Mix mermaids with a coming of age tale, and you get pure intensity! Luna Wedler stars as Mia, a young Swiss teenager going through the tumultuous times of puberty. If that wasn’t enough, she’s also turning into a mermaid.
When I saw the trailer for Blue on my Mind, I was already a little biased. I love the coming of age sub-genre and mermaids are interesting. Especially of late, since they are being represented in the mainstream as the more classical ferocious creatures of the sea. This film feeds into this trend as the majestic quality of the mermaid is stripped away to show a more animalistic one. Mia’s change is frightening and slow. Every development is a shock and many times gut-turning and wrenching. There is also a sense of fierce loneliness because Mia is dealing with her issues all by herself.
A special note needs to be made to the performance of Wedler. She emanates such pain and every breakdown she has feels real. Compound that with the fact she, later on, has to deal with prosthetics. Zoë Pastelle Holthuizen plays Gianna, who is a complicated friend of Mia. Gianna seems like she is going to be just a mean popular girl but there is much more depth to her and Holthuizen really brings it out. They also have excellent chemistry and the way their relationship develops is touching.
“Touching” is a dominant aspect of the film, as anyone with the least bit of empathy can understand the immense struggle, and horror in some cases, that Mia is going through. The special effects are phenomenal and most if not all are practical. The result of which is body horror and when mixed with the empathetical pain turns into a litmus test of emotional tolerance. Though it should also be noted that there are quite a few scenes that were intense on their own without the need for special effects.
Aesthetically, some might find issue with the use of color throughout the movie. The color pallet is so blue and everything in the film to the walls to the side of buildings is blue. Almost every single scene has blue in it and it is understandable as symbolism but it is way too blatant. It would have made more sense if it was subtle at first and then the blue became more prevalent.
Blue on my Mind is one of those gems that is meant to be introduced to the world through a festival like Fantasia Fest. It is a true testament to how to utilize fantasy elements to tell a powerful story. Mixing genres and testing the limits of the audience is what makes these films special. This movie has many moments that invoked various feelings that will stay with me and I’m sure it will have the same effect for anyone else who watches.
Blue on my Mind is one of many films being presented at Fantasia Fest 2018.