Release date: 2006. Performers: Emma Roberts, Joanna “JoJo” Levesque, Sara Paxton, Jake McDorman, Arielle Kebbel. Studio: Fox 2000 Pictures. Director: Elizabeth Allen. Screenplay: John Quaintance and Jessica Bendinger. Based on the novel Aquamarine by Alice Hoffman.
Review: This fun and simple movie is girly to the core, and will delight tweens with its humor and heartwarming message. The relationship between Claire and Hailey mirrors the friendship many tween girls have with one another. They are incredibly close and rely on each other for everything, but things outside of their control seem to be pulling them apart. It is clear that Hailey is the stronger of the two girls, trying to coax the orphaned Claire out of her fear of “living.” Aquamarine is a very wise and charismatic character who helps Claire and Hailey realize that they are both courageous and capable of living happily without one another. The love story between Aquamarine and Raymond takes a back seat to the dynamics between Claire, Hailey and Aquamarine. The end result of the film is an encouraging message to “be friends with life” as Aquamarine says, and Claire and Hailey both grow stronger as a result of their adventures. A very sweet and wholesome film that tween girls will enjoy.
Interest level: Grades 4-8
Similar titles: Splash (1984)
Personal thoughts: Even though I am about fifteen years past the target audience for this film, I still find Aquamarine to be a very entertaining and heartwarming movie. Sure, there are some goofy, girly scenes, like when Claire and Hailey try to teach Aquamarine about love by having her read through a dozen magazines or when the ladies go shopping and get makeovers. But the overall message of the film is really solid, and I think the characters, especially the confident mermaid, are good role models for tweens.
Themes: Mermaids, friendships, courage.
Awards/Reviews: Nominated for two Teen Choice Awards, two nominations and one win for Young Artist Awards. Box office success.
Series Information: N/A
Claire Brown – A kind but timid tween girl who was orphaned after her parents were killed in a boating accident. She is very clingy to her best friend, Hailey.
Hailey Rogers – Claire’s best friend, and the braver of the two. She lives with her mother who is a marine biologist, and is devastated to learn that her mother is moving her to Australia for her job.
Aquamarine – A charismatic and confident mermaid who washes ashore during a big storm and befriends Claire and Hailey. She desperately wants to prove to her father that true love exists and is trying to escape an arranged marriage with a merman that she doesn’t like.
Raymond – A handsome and kind lifeguard. He is the object of lust for many tween girls around the resort, and Aquamarine is determined to make him love her.
Annotation: Claire and Hailey are best friends who are in danger of being split up when Hailey’s mother wants to move her to Australia for a promotion. When a beautiful mermaid named Aquamarine washes ashore, the friends are in for an adventure that will change their lives forever.