Swimming Upstream (2004)

Swimming Upstream

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.


Movie Info

The true story of Tony Fingleton, a young man from a troubled family who found the inner strength to become a champion. Set in 1950s Brisbane, Australia, the family drama centers on Tony, a young man who beats the odds to become a champion swimmer in spite of his overbearing, alcoholic father and long-suffering, but quietly heroic mother. Overshadowed in his father's eyes by his brothers, it's only when Tony displays an extraordinary swimming talent that he feels he has a shot at wining his … More

Rating: PG-13 (thematic material involving alcoholism and domestic abuse)
Genre: Sports & Fitness, Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Anthony Fingleton
In Theaters:
On DVD: May 31, 2005
Runtime:

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Critic Reviews for Swimming Upstream

All Critics (42) | Top Critics (12)

The story isn't unusual or compelling enough to make a lasting impression.

Full Review… | February 10, 2005
New York Observer
Top Critic

Good as Rush and Davis are as combative working-class parents Harold and Dora, their story line overpowers the drippy dramatics of their teen athlete son. It unwittingly feels like two separate movies.

February 5, 2005
Hollywood Reporter
Top Critic

Makes you sit up and take notice, if only for the fine performances of the terrific Judy Davis as his abused mother and Geoffrey Rush as his bitter, angry dad.

Full Review… | February 4, 2005
Miami Herald
Top Critic

The grim material isn't helped by the hackneyed direction of Russell Mulcahy, a music-video veteran.

February 4, 2005
New York Post
Top Critic

Ends up merely treading water.

Full Review… | February 4, 2005
New York Daily News
Top Critic

Their vivid, uncompromising performances redeem what could have been a clichéd coming-of-age story.

February 4, 2005
Denver Rocky Mountain News
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Swimming Upstream

he story of a young man's struggle to gain his fathers love and approval.

As the most sensitive and brightest boy of a very large family, Tony tries to please his macho father who appears to be unimpressed by his academic prowess and only accepts sporting triumph as sucess.

Based-on-a-real-life film with stunning pool filming and good looking actors.

Swimmers will understand the pull that the pool has on Tony as he copes with his difficult life.

An inspiration to get back into serious swimming.

rezpatriot
Alexander Wilson

Super Reviewer

Swimming Upstream.
Beautifully acted, but filmed with restraint.
When I say filmed with restraint, I'm referring to Swimming Upstream's underselling of itself. At times this is its weakness, while other times it's a strength. In the extremely dramatic scenes involving the family's troubles, the emotion is very raw and honest without being flashy and soap-opera-ish.
While it was fun to see Jesse Spencer out of his role on House (for real, great performance), the obvious shining light was Geoffrey Rush (who won an Oscar for Shine, see what I did there?). I'm surprised he wasn't nominated for this, because he steals the show in every single scene. Even when you're supposed to be thinking about Spencer's emotional battle, you're putting every ounce of effort into reading Rush's subtle blank stare.
They even threw in a couple of random impressively artsy cinametographical (not a word) tricks, like filming the kitchen fight from underneath through a glass floor... looked awesome. The split screen swim meets worked well also, a bit strange at times, but a good fit.

Why 80%?
Because the juxtaposition of the swimming storyline with the family turmoil was great, as well as the performances. A well-crafted movie for an inspiring story.

Extra: An ode to Geoffrey Rush...

Your disgusting jaw compelling so,
The way you ramble to and fro.
The nasty wrinkles of your cheek,
I only imagine how you reek.
Unkempt hair, skin not so fair,
Your gangly arms are hard to bare.
Yet still I watch on the edge of my seat,
Cuz your performances can't be beat.

Luke T.
Luke Turley

Super Reviewer

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