In her early 30s, Summer lives alone, jobless, with little material wants. Her only passion is dancing. To be more specific, ballroom dancing. Under the tutelage of the legendary gay dancer Donny, Summer embarks on a journey of self-discovery and, perhaps more importantly, the search for the perfect partner.
Her hopes are dashed again and again as she witnesses the colorful characters in the ballroom: the arrogant youngster Youlin from a dancing dynasty; the talented Grace who wants nothing but an ordinary life; and the petite Meixin, forever at war with her fiance/partner. As Summer continues her pursuit of Mr. Right, she is forced to confront the dark memories of her past-the slut-shaming from her control-freak mother, the attempted suicide of her cousin, and the painful humiliation of sex with a classmate. She dreams of the perfect dancing body, yet dreads her own sexuality.
Mermaid’s Tale is itself like a beautiful solo dance exploring the female body like The Vegetarian and the lonely obsession of dancing and dream-achieving like Frances Ha.