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On a Clear Day

84 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

It's the ultimate personal challenge - swimming the English Channel. But as Frank Redmond (Peter Mullan, Braveheart, Trainspotting) plunges headlong into his new life, his friends get swept up in his quest, filling his training with laughter and camaraderie as he prepares for the most extraordinary test of human endurance. On a Clear Day is an inspirational and heartwarming story of family, friends and one amazing adventure that will stay with you forever!

An independent film from Britain, On a Clear Day tells the story of a man trying to come to terms with his past by setting a goal for the future: to swim across the English Channel. Frank (Peter Mullan) is a stoic man who tells his young grandson, "Things aren't meant to be fixed nowadays." After working all his life, the Glasgow shipbuilder finds himself middle-aged and jobless. His loving wife Joan (two-time Academy Award nominee Brenda Blethyn) tries to lessen the financial burden by learning to become a bus driver. Frank's relationship with his househusband son Rob (Jamie Sives) is distant at best. And though he doesn't speak of his other son, who drowned decades ago, Frank thinks of him often. Director Gaby Dellal reveals a gentle touch in the film's quieter moments. But she's just at home balancing the melodramatic moments (Rob confronting his father in a swimming pool) with comic relief (Frank's friendship with a woebegone group of men, including optimistic Danny, played by Billy Boyd from The Lord of the Rings). In the end, it's less important whether Frank's goals are met than mending his broken relationships. The finale is touching in the way it all plays out, because some things are meant to be fixed. --Jae-Ha Kim

Product Details

  • Actors: Peter Mullan, Brenda Blethyn, Billy Boyd, Sean McGinley, Jamie Sives
  • Directors: Gaby Dellal
  • Writers: Alex Rose
  • Producers: Sarah Curtis, Dorothy Berwin
  • Format: Multiple Formats, AC-3, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Focus Features
  • DVD Release Date: July 11, 2006
  • Run Time: 99 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000FQISV2
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,264 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "On a Clear Day" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Jean E. Pouliot on May 28, 2006
Format: DVD
Frank Redmond and his friends at the Glasgow Shipyard have just launched their last vessel. Now they have been laid off and are struggling to restart their lives after decades of sure employment. Frank is taking his new status particularly hard, and seems on the verge of a heart attack or nervous breakdown when he has an idea -- why not resurrect his self-esteem by swimming the English Channel?

"On a Clear Day" boils down to a story we have seen a thousands times: the underdog who struggles valiantly against all odds to reclaim his dignity and (more importantly) learn about Life. Think "The Bad News Bears," "Calendar Girls" and "The Full Monty." What rescues this film from the banality of repetition is the superb cast, the inclusion of neat motifs and the diversion of a few interesting subplots.

The main subplot relates to an unresolved tragedy in Frank's family that keeps him from being opening up to his son. Then, Frank's wife is secretly trying to get her bus-driving license to supplement the diminished family income, something she doesn't want Frank to find out.

There's not much suspense in the film -- in the sense that only a completely boorish or devilishly artsy director would withhold some form of ultimate triumph -- but it's fun watching this cast of misfits get there. These include the Chinese cook who can't stand up to abuse from his customers and suppliers; the goofy young lad (Billy Boyd in a post-LOTR/Pippin role) who wants (but can't manage) to be just like Frank; and the middle-aged man equally afraid of women and sailing. The strained relationship between Frank (Peter Mullan) and his son Rob (Jamie Sives) is exquisitely painful, and unfolds through marvelous scenes in which neither says a word, but in which the audience knows exactly what each is thinking and feeling. A phenomenal piece of acting, writing and editing that raises this film from a hum-drum 3 stars to a more exalted 4.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 14, 2006
Format: DVD
ON A CLEAR DAY is a wee Scottish film that is full to overflowing with heart and fine performances. Writer Alex Rose and Director Gaby Dellal have managed to explore the psyches of the ordinary folk who face the crises of unemployment, of strained family relations and the fear of loss of pride in one's self and have created not only a sympathetic story with a message, but have also delivered their story with humor and a glint of the eye that makes the whole thing work - very well indeed.

Frank (Peter Mullen) watches as the last ship he will ever have worked on is launched as his wife Joan (Brenda Blethyn) and his son Rob (Jamie Sives), daughter in law Angela (Johdi May), and grandson twins celebrate the launching. We soon learn that Frank is now jobless, that there is friction with his son Rob (who had been a twin but the other twin died at age 7) who doesn't have a traditional job but instead is a stay at home Dad. Money is tight and Joan secretly is training to be a bus driver. Franks cronies Eddie (Sean McGinley), Danny (Billy Boyd), and Norman (Ron Cook) see Frank slipping into depression. Frank spends his time swimming at the public swimming pool and while there he sees three young physically challenged boys trying and by will power succeeding to swim. Frank decides he needs to prove himself to his friends, family and himself and decides to swim the English Channel. He enlists his buddy Chan (Benedict Wong) and eventually his cronies and they prepare for the challenging swim. The manner in which this drive influences his marriage, his relationship with his son and his perception of himself is the driver for the very tender ending.

The cast is first class all the way, acting with that inimitable UK fashion of finding reality in the simplest of characters. The story is a joy to watch for its understated manner and for the glowing theme of the film. Recommended for all audiences. Grady Harp, July 06
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Angie on October 7, 2006
Format: DVD
It is a wonderful film about "real life" people. I think it is really hard to pull that off and keep it interesting when so many viewers are used to Hollywood glitz. But this movie was full of laugh-out-loud scenes and the dialogue was great. Though, the soundtrack volume choices left something to be desired for American ears struggling with accents. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters, and laughing at their antics.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Wendy Schroeder on September 8, 2006
Format: DVD
Frank is laid off from his job and feels like his life is over. Slowly he gets himself together and decides to swim the English channel.

I liked Frank and his wife Joan a lot. I admired Joan wanting to try something different (learning to drive a bus). Frank's friends are interesting and seem like real people too.

My one complaint is there wasn't captioning. I had a difficult time understanding their accents occasionally and I felt I missed some important dialog.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Spunky Girl on November 9, 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I went to see this film in theatres with little idea of what to expect. I was overwhelmed! This movie carefully presents characters that feel familiar and full. Frank, the story's hero, who decides to swim the English Channel in a bid to help move on from past traumas, reminded me in turns of my grandfather, my father and me.

The actors in this film are wonderful to watch and the film is heartfelt without be smaltzy. It's a very enjoyable and funny movie, with an engaging emotional core. I bought this film for several people for Christmas this year, and I earnestly believe they will all embrace it as I did.
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