What Was the Quote at the Beginning of ‘The Little Mermaid?’

in Disney, Entertainment

little mermaid quote but a mermaid has no tears and therefore she suffers so much more over halle bailey as ariel in live action little mermaid

Credit: Disney/ITM

The 2023 live-action version of The Little Mermaid opens, visually, very similar to the way the 1989 animated version does: On choppy waves, splashing back and forth over most of the screen.

However, unlike the animated version, the 2023 opening has no sound. No gull cries, no cheerful piped opening tune, no dolphins gleefully jumping over the waves, only silence and the crashing of the waves.

Then, over the water, a quote appears:

“…But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.”

little mermaid quote but a mermaid has no tears and therefore she suffers so much more over crashing waves the little mermaid
Credit: ITM

Related: Live-Action ‘The Little Mermaid’ Review: Welcome to That World, Halle Bailey

The quote is from Hans Christian Anderson, who penned the original Little Mermaid fairy tale in 1837.

It doesn’t necessarily have much relevance to the current film – there is no reference to Ariel’s inability to cry or feel. However, director Rob Marshall and his partner, producer John DeLuca, thought it was extremely important to the themes behind their version of the story.

Rob Marshall Explains the Significance of The Live-Action Little Mermaid’s Hans Christian Anderson Quote

Halle Bailey as Ariel in 'The Little Mermaid'
Credit: Disney

Related: Live-Action ‘Little Mermaid’ Blows Negative Expectations Out of the Water

Ariel is not without the ability to cry in the live-action version of The Little Mermaid – but she is unable to speak, and that silencing was happening even before she gave her voice to Ursula. The Ariel we see in the movie has been silenced by her own father, again and again, when she has tried to convince him to leave behind prejudices and fears that she knows to be wrong.

This dynamic drove the more complex Ariel in the live-action movie forward, and it was for this reason that the Hans Christian Anderson quote stuck out to Rob Marshall when he was studying the original fairy tale.

“The quote for me has such depth to it. It says, ‘Look what she’s going to go through…she has to struggle to find her way. That’s really what this film’s about. You don’t ever give up….To me, it sets the table for the whole piece. There’s much more emotion, depth and stakes to what she’s trying to achieve.

Although his source material was meant to be Disney’s 1989 version of The Little Mermaid, Marshall wanted to go back to the original fairy tale to find some more of the depth that the scope of a live-action remake allows.

Littler Mermaid
Credit: Disney

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And at the end, when she becomes a full human, she sheds a tear and can finally feel what humans feel. That was very profound for us. And we found this depth to this film and this story directly from Hans Christian Anderson. But there was so much more to bring to a live-action film than a 2D animated film, …in this genre, we get to do something deeper.”

It was producer John DeLuca, however, who thought that the crashing waves at the beginning of the film would serve as the perfect backdrop for the quotation.

We wanted to start it out with those crashing waves…and juxtapose that with what we both fell in love with the Hans Christian Anderson tale and really bring that into this realization.

The quote serves as a reminder to those about to watch the film: This isn’t going to be exactly the film you saw in 1989. It’s based on that one but also on a much older, much darker fairy tale – so you don’t know exactly what to expect.

You can find out, though: The Little Mermaid is in theaters everywhere now.

What do you think of the Hans Christian Andersen quote they chose? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments.

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