Mermaids is a 1990 American family comedy-drama film directed by Richard Benjamin, and starring Cher, Bob Hoskins, Winona Ryder, Michael Schoeffling, and Christina Ricci in her film debut. Set in the early 1960s, its plot follows a neurotic teenage girl who moves with her wayward mother and young sister to a small town in Massachusetts. It is based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Patty Dann.
In 1963 Oklahoma, Charlotte Flax is a neurotic 15-year-old whose carefree single mother, Rachel, relocates Charlotte and her 9-year-old half-sister, Kate, each time she ends a relationship. Rachel's parenting approach—which more resembles friendship than mothering—is troubling to the anxiety-ridden Charlotte, who is embarrassed by her mother's flamboyant nature. After ending an affair with her married employer, Rachel and her daughters move to the small town of Eastport, Massachusetts where she also gets a job as a receptionist for an insurance adjuster. Charlotte is ecstatic about their new home's location, as it borders a convent, and she is obsessed with Catholicism.