Scales: Mermaids are Real came out just barely after A Mermaid's Tale, and there's certainly similarities between the two, not limited to the same wonderful actress, Hannah Fraser, playing an important mermaid supporting character in both. The tone is certainly similar, but Scales is a bit bigger, a bit shinier, and has a slightly more complex mermaid community.
The main character of Scales is Siren (Emmy Perry), a typical eleven-going-on-twelve girl, except where she's actually part-mermaid and is due some puberty-like transformations as her birthday nears. Turns out she'd grown up unwittingly in a secret community of mermaids, including her own best friend Crystal (Nikki Hahn). Bigger still is Siren's learning that her mermaid birth mother is actually alive, and hoping to meet her soon.
It's already a bit of a delicate time for Siren, but it's made more difficult because she's befriended Adam, a new boy in town whose father is, unfortunately, a hunter of mermaids.
Basically this is a coming-of-age story with a secret inheritance and mild body horror issues similar to The Thirteenth Year, but about a girl instead of a guy, and with a bigger budget. There are a few short underwater scenes but they're all gorgeously filmed, with beautifully-detailed tails. Hannah Fraser only appears briefly but it's a joy to watch her show off her mermaid chops and make it look easy.
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