Madison, Mermaid Siren

For this week’s Femme Fatale Friday, I have decided to write about the main character from one of my all-time favorite films.    Splash is the iconic 80s mermaid film that helped make Tom Hanks and Daryl Hannah stars, as well as launched Touchstone pictures!   

Splash is the story of a man named Allen who gets saved by a mermaid when he is a little boy (although he did not know what she was).   Twenty years later, after a night of heavy drinking, he finds himself in need of rescue again.   The same mermaid once again rescues him, and this time she finds his wallet at the bottom of the sea, allowing her to know where to look for the man she loves!    This takes her to New York City, and she arrives naked at the Statue of Liberty in one of the most iconic scenes in the film.

Allen and his mermaid quickly begin a passionate affair once he picks her up from jail (that whole indecent exposure at the Statue of Liberty thing).   When Allen needs to go back to his office the mermaid goes on an adventure to Bloomingdales.   This is where she finds adequate clothing and learns English by watching television!

After that point, she is able to fully communicate with Allen, and even gives herself a name he can pronounce, Madison.   Allen quickly informs her that Madison is not a person’s name (just a street name), which was true in 1984 but since that the name has become popular due to this film!   She decided that was her name anyway and Allen agrees to call her by it.   

As the film progresses the audience learns the rules by which Madison was able to walk on land.   She only has until the next full moon and must remember to keep her tail wet each evening.   This leads to a funny scene with her in a tub then falling out, and trying to dry off before Allen breaks down the door.    

The audience also realizes just how caring and intelligent Madison is as the movie continues.   She buys Allen a mermaid statue that was about to be torn down because he admired it.   As I already stated, she was able to learn English in five hours by watching television in Bloomingdales.   All of this adds up to a mermaid who is kind, caring, and insanely smart!   

She does have trauma to endure when she is captured by scientists looking to study her.   This ends happily for her though, since Allen rescues her with the help of his brother, and one of the scientists that grew unsettled with the way Madison was treated.    The film ends with what I personally think is the dream ending for all mermaid-loving people.   Instead of leaving the sea to live with Allen, he joins Madison in the water to live his own aquatic dreams!

At the end of the day, both parties in this love story were willing to do anything for love.   That is what makes Splash such a special movie, and truly a fairytale for adults!    I hope you have enjoyed my short analysis of the film, and Madison.   Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Note on Image: The image at the top of the post is one of the posters for the film.   I found the image on

Further Watching

  • Splash (1984)