Well, not a mermaid per se. She's a “narf”—some sort of sea nymph who can see into the future, and is visiting here from “the blue world” to help “man get back on the right path.” Played by Bryce Dallas Howard in a joyless Osment-ian whisper, our narf is really more of a wet blanket, quivering in Giamatti's shower most of the time and gravely intoning ominous prophecies. Oh wait, did I forget to mention her name is “Story”?Read the whole thing and boggle--particularly at the fact that the only person who won't help the mermaid is "a pissy film critic". Sounds like someone's been reading the J. Michael Straczynski playbook.
Story has been sent to this particular pool so she may serve as a muse to a brilliant young writer—a young man so exceptional, with ideas so powerful, an entire generation is going to take his words to heart—and thanks to the fine work of this astounding young genius, our ravaged, war-torn earth will be returned to paradise.
The brilliant young writer is portrayed by M. Night Shyamalan.