Film / TV

3 Key Lessons From The Little Mermaid

May 31, 2023

It’s well understood that stories, particularly fairy tales, are hyperbolic works of fiction with a sprinkling of reality throughout each line. While they’re entertaining, there are often important lessons that we can take away between laughs, tears, and the much enjoyed romance.

Growing up, The Little Mermaid wasn’t exactly my favorite story of the Disney princess films. However, I understand the importance of a live-action being led by a Black woman and what that means for the future to come. In Hollywood, it comes as no surprise that every actor has to “prove” their abilities when it comes to drawing in a crowd at the box office. However it often feels like Black talent has to do that as well as break through the glass ceiling hanging low for the mere fact that entertainment is not as inclusive and integrated as it should be. As such, when the news broke that Halle Bailey would star as Ariel in the 2023 The Little Mermaid, it was imperative that my friends and I show love.

Somehow, I had forgotten details of the fairy tale, so imagine my surprise that Halle didn’t speak for most of the film. Nevertheless, between the brilliance of the production, the diversity of the cast, the nostalgia of an animation come to life – there were three key lessons to take from The Little Mermaid…

Rebellion without research is dangerous

Javier Bardem Fell 15 Feet While Filming 'the Little Mermaid'

The entire story line of The Little Mermaid is predicated on Ariel rebelling against her father, King Triton. In choosing to become human in the hopes of falling in love with Prince Eric, she directly defied her father’s orders not to interact with “surface” folks. However, the decisions she made in her rebellion were often derived out of haste. For example, instead of doing a simple background check on Ursula, Ariel concluded that everybody must have been lying on her character then struck a deal that cost her more than she thought.

In our personal developments, rebellion against societal structure, our families, our education system and so much more are commonplace. At the same time, rebelling without any type of research or due diligence leaves us vulnerable to those who would rather see us suffer than succeed.

Action in love is more impactful than loving words

Little Mermaid Song Updated so Prince Eric Doesn't 'Force Himself' on Ariel

Part of the deal with Ariel becoming human was that she would not have access to her voice, her siren song. In my opinion, for this reason alone the in deal was a bit unfair, but I digress. In being without her voice, Ariel had to physically communicate her interest in Prince Eric and he had to determine her interest in him as well. This is not to be taken as an excuse to ignore what someone says in favor of how they physically response. Instead, this is to say that action in love has a lasting impact than merely stating beautiful words without action behind them.

The ocean is not your playground

C'mon, the live-action Little Mermaid's CG animals look fine - Polygon

In the news recently, reporters have shared stories of orca whales and dolphins partnering up to destabilize boats and interrupt water activties. Set between the ocean and land, The Little Mermaid highlights how the sea is home to an assortment of creatures. Generally, when we think about ocean pollution, our minds jump to waste material. At the same time, sunken ships and underwater bomb testing (albeit this didn’t feature in the film) are equally dangerous to sea life. Over the years, we’ve proven ourselves to be dangerous creatures towards sea life, The Little Mermaid offers a voice to the “voiceless” by sharing the perspective of merfolk (even if they’re mythical).