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By Patrick Samuel • August 26th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
Touchstone Films

Release date: March 9th, 1984
Running time: 111 minutes

Director: Ron Howard
Writers: Lowell Ganz, Babaloo Mandel, Bruce Jay Friedman

Cast: Tom Hanks, Daryl Hannah, John Candy, Eugene Levy


There was a time, long ago, when I believed the world was filled with things we could never imagine. Maybe this came from the stories I read; Lewis Carroll, Charles Perrault, the Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Anderson were largely responsible for that. Why couldn’t there be unicorns, leprechauns, fairies and golden geese; just because we’d never seen one is no reason to think they didn’t exist somewhere. After all, humans aren’t exactly known for their live and let live nature, so couldn’t it be possible they’re all somewhere in a part of the world that only the pure of heart might enter?

On one my earliest trips to the cinema as a child I came to believe in the existence of another marvellous creature, the beautiful and mysterious mermaid I saw in the 1984 film, Splash. Admittedly, I was an impressionable child, but a trip to the cinema always opened up my small world to so many possibilities and this was one of them.

Set in New York, Splash introduces us to Allen (Tom Hanks), the co-owner of a wholesale fruit and vegetable business, along with his womanising brother Freddie (John Candy). Unlucky in love again, depressed Allen goes out drinking with Freddie, but leaves early to take a taxi to Cape Cod where as a child he was once saved from drowning by a beautiful girl. While in the water, the two formed an instant connection so strong that all of Allen’s future relationships would be doomed until he meets her again.

The only thing is, Allen never met her again, at least not until the night when he went back to Cape Cod. Once there again, he falls overboard and wakes up the next morning on the beach with a beautiful woman beside him. What he doesn’t know is that she’s actually a mermaid in human form and she was the same girl who saved him when he was a small boy.


It’s the oldest story in the book. Boy meets girl. Girl’s secretly a mermaid and goes with boy to live in bustling New York City. Girl has only a few days before she must return to her underwater world, but with the pair so madly in love with each other, it can only mean it’s just a matter of time before Allen discovers there’s something fishy about her.

Daryl Hannah is mesmerising in the role of Madison, who takes her human name from the street sign Madison Avenue. After emerging naked from the sea, much to the surprise of visitors to the Statue of Liberty, she then has to manoeuvre herself through the various pitfalls of everyday city life and learn the language. Her combination of innocence and sense of wonder about the world is believable and she’s breathtakingly beautiful throughout the film.

This is all while obsessed scientist Dr. Walter Kornbluth (Eugene Levy), who spotted her in her true form, is trying desperately to catch her so he can study her and gain recognition from the Splashscientific community for his achievement. There are moments when Splash dissolves into slapstick comedy, but I never minded that, it’s all good fun while the romance blossoms between Madison and Allen. John Candy, whose films I’ve always adored, adds to the comedy as well and his scenes with the youthful Tom Hanks are what makes the film such a joy to watch over the years.

One scene I’ve always remembered is from the very beginning where we see young Freddie on the boat. The kid drops a handful of coins near to where some women are standing and as he bends down to pick them he uses the opportunity to look up their skirts. Boy, did I get into trouble when I tried that out for myself. As I said, I was an impressionable kid.

With a bit of comedy, a dash of romance, and a few ounces of action and adventure, Splash remains a delightful film from the early part of the 80s that can be forgiven for its length only because of its charismatic main cast. As a film that introduced an impressionable child to the idea there might really exist such a legendary aquatic creature, it’s one I always look back on fondly knowing I still believe.


Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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