swimming with men

DIRECTOR: oliver parker (johnny english reborn, dad's army)
STARRING: rob brydon, jim carter, rupert graves, and charlotte riley

 

REVIEWER: lyall carter

A man suffering from a mid-life crisis finds new meaning in his life after joining an all-male, middle-aged, amateur synchronised swimming team.

A couple of years ago I went to a dinner where All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster was the main speaker. One of the things he spoke about was the gradual demise of the grass root rugby club as most were struggling to find people to volunteer as committee members, coaches, and referee.

 

Swimming with Men is a timely reminder in an ever increasingly busy world that we need community, connection, and activity outside the chaotic daily grind and its a pretty heart warming and funny reminder at that. 

Eric life is a bit of a bore. He's an accountant (can't get a more boring job than that - no offence accountants) and life has slipped on by. But he finds solace in swimming at the local pool and while there in his 'happy place' he discovers a men's synchronized swimming team and joins up. Eric finds brotherhood amongst the team as they train to compete in the world championship in Milan. 

If it feels like we've already had a tale of men's synchronized swimming we have - last years French Sink or Swim but Swimming with Men is a different beast. Its not quite as melancholic as Sink or Swim with more of a light spring in its step. 

That doesn't mean that it doesn't touch on deeper things; we see Eric's struggle with an unfulfilling job, lack of male companionship, and martial problems. Anxiety, grief, and failed relationships are all touched on but never dwelt on. It all adds to the backdrop of need for male companionship for these guys which is a much needed reminder against the male machoism thats paraded around as being a normal male function. 

Swimming with Men is a funny tale too and their were frequent times that the audience I saw it with were in fits of laughter. Rob Brydon AKA Gavin and Stacey's Uncle Bryn leads this ensemble cast magnificently and its great to see him in a lead role in a film finally. 

 

Heart warming and funny, make sure you more than dip your toes in this cinematic water and just go Swimming with Men.

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