THE LITTLE MERMAID – Review by Susan Granger

Why this live-action remake of Disney’s beloved 1989 animated classic? Because it’s “woke” 2023 – when audiences may want to see a more dutiful, diversity-aware approach to race and gender in The Little Mermaid. Sweetly guileless Ariel (Grammy-nominated Halle Bailey) is one of King Triton’s many, multiethnic mermaid daughters. Despite her widowed father’s disapproval, she avidly collects artifacts from the human world that she scavenges from shipwrecks with the help of her fish friend Flounder and Scuttle, a squawking seagull.

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THE LITTLE MERMAID – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Disney’s new live-action take on The Little Mermaid goes along swimmingly in its sweet romance, but it doesn’t diverge enough from its animated roots to truly make a splash. First things first: The charming Halle Bailey gets Ariel endearingly right, from her innocent optimism to unquenchable curiosity. Unfairly targeted with racist vitriol after the initial trailers, Bailey is a likable lead, and it’s easy to imagine young mermaid fans loving her and her sisters, who also are women of different races. The Little Mermaid is adorable enough in parts, but its story largely stays on the surface. Like Ariel in “Part of Your World,” I wanted more.

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THE LITTLE MERMAID – Review by Susan Kamyab

Thanks to the committed cast and their captivating performances, this is one of the few Disney live-actions I’m happy with. And if there was any reason for this remake in particular, it was to have Halle Bailey play Ariel. Baily shines as Ariel. Her voice is breathtaking and she’s a talented actor. It’s also heartwarming to know that so many young girls are going to get to see themselves represented through such an iconic Disney Classic.

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RIVER – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Making her feature debut, writer-director Emily Skye expanded River from an award-winning short, but the story is a slow burn before it reaches any significant plot twist. Some of this might be because of budget constraints; flickering lights cue eerie moments, and in an economy of characters, River’s employer at a country store is also her therapist.

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MARY POPPINS RETURNS – Review by Martha K. Baker

Children will love the color, the movement, and the story, but grown-ups will bring more to Mary Poppins Returns. They will bring memories of Mary Poppins, the 1964 film with Dick van Dyck and Julie Andrews, or even the 2013 film, Saving Mr. Banks, the story of making Mary Poppins with Emma Thompson and Tom Hanks.

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: ‘Mary Poppins Returns,’ plus Chastain, Bening and Kidman get gigs and Women in Special Effects — Brandy McDonnell reports

Disney has announced that production on “Mary Poppins Returns,” the studio’s sequel to its 1964 “Mary Poppins,” has commenced at

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