Rozema’s I’ve Heard the mermaids Singing, has been upon release one of Canada’s most successful films on the international scene. The film tells the story of Polly, a whimsical, sensitive and simple minded woman whose solitary lifestyle and awkward social skills make for a difficult hire. She spends her free time wandering the streets on her bike and taking pictures with her camera. Everything changes when she is hired as a secretary by Gabrielle, a trendy Toronto gallery owner. Initially infatuated with the gallery owner, things get complicated for Polly with the arrival of Mary, a former lover of Gabrielle and up-and-coming artist. Despite being initially turned away by Gabrielle for being too young, Mary and Gabrielle rekindle their flame under the curious eye of Polly all the while perpetrating a fraud, passing Mary’s work as Gabrielle’s own.
Inspired by Mary’s creativity, Polly submits her photos anonymously to be showcased at the gallery, but are quickly dismissed by Gabrielle, deeming them too “simple minded” After discovering the elaborate scheme perpetrated by Mary and Gabrielle, Polly throws a cup of hot tea at Gabrielle and retreats to her home.
When Mary and Gabrielle follow Polly back to her home they discover her photographs and soon realize that it was she who submitted them to the gallery. The film ends on a fantasy sequence where Gabrielle, Mary and Polly and Mary are Transported to a whimsical wooden area. In 1993, the film made the top 10 list of the best Canadian films of all time complied by TIFF ( though the list was revised in 2004 and the film isnt featured anymore).