Coppola won an Academy Award for 2003's Lost in Translation, and the themes of loneliness and insomnia play a big part in the film. Movie star Bob Harris (Bill Murray) and recent college graduate Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson) strike up a friendship in a hotel bar in Tokyo and bond over their general feelings of abandonment and isolation.
The mermaid herself is inherently lonely, even though she has a loving father, grandmother, and five sisters. She is obsessed with swimming to the ocean's surface, falling in love, and becoming a human with an eternal soul. With her keen way of combining frailty and courage, Coppola could have put a gloomier spin on the mermaid's personality in order to stay true to the short story.