Swimming

"Very Good"

Swimming Review


Lauren Ambrose can do no wrong in coming of age stories. Her naïve charm worked to her advantage in Can't Hardly Wait and it's probably why she's playing a teenager to such raves in the HBO hit Six Feet Under, despite being perilously close to her mid-twenties. In her newest movie, Swimming (which actually premiered in 2000), Ambrose scores again as a bored young woman looking for herself and some excitement in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

Ambrose's character, Frankie, dresses and acts like a woman who's entrenched in middle age without any hope of escaping. She runs the family restaurant with her older brother, Nick (Josh Pais), and she shares their parents' old house with Nick's wife and kids. Frankie's best friend, Nicola (Jennifer Dundas Lowe), apparently keeps her around so she can look more vivacious by comparison.

Frankie's worldview gets rocked when she meets the new waitress Josee (Joelle Carter), a beautiful woman who takes an interest in her without any ulterior motives. Josee's free spirit and disregard of others fascinates Frankie, both of which are nicely illustrated in a scene where Josee leisurely strolls through the crowded restaurant. Soon, they're spending time together, which enrages Nicola and Josee's boyfriend (James Villemaire) and destroys the ruts they've built for themselves.

Though the material sounds complex and potentially sleep-inducing, director Robert J. Siegel paints his portrait of boredom and discontent with deft strokes, which is evident in the film's first few minutes, as boys leer at an array of primped and sexy girls parading down the boulevard. Looking again at Frankie, with her no-frills looks and overalls, we now know her awkwardness. Later in the movie, when Siegel stages an unexpected meeting between Neil and Frankie, the director lets the actor's expressions communicate the feelings. Siegel displays a feel for the way people react to life's uncomfortable moments, and the movie's slow crawl of a pace perfectly captures how the summer days feel to the people who can't capitalize on their youthful freedom anymore.

Swimming's tempo, however, becomes a liability when Siegel and the other two screenwriters run low on observations and insights. That becomes obvious when Frankie suddenly rediscovers a passing love interest (Jamie Harrold) in the last third of the movie. For a character as world-weary and withdrawn as Frankie it seems unlikely that she would move so suddenly with a guy, especially when the movie concentrates so much on her growing rapport with Josee. Also, by introducing the development late into the plot, it doesn't get a chance to mesh into the story's delicate narrative fabric.

Still, Swimming's strengths outweigh its weaknesses. The acting and direction are telling without being showy and abrasive, a lesson the similarly-themed and recently-released The Last Kiss chose to ignore completely and thoroughly. Ambrose is especially good, as she performs without pretension and with a sense of caution that makes her character worthy of our sympathy and attention. Regardless of material, Ambrose is a talented actress we should all keep an eye on.



Swimming

Facts and Figures

Run time: 90 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 9th March 2000

Distributed by: Oceanside Pictures

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 74%
Fresh: 29 Rotten: 10

IMDB: 6.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Robert J. Siegel

Producer: Robert J. Siegel,

Starring: as Frankie Wheeler, Jennifer Dundas as Nicola Jenrette, as Josee, as Heath

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Advertisement
Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.