Swimming Upstream PG-13 CC

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(33) IMDb 7.2/10
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Young Tony Fingleton has a very distant relationship with his distant father, Harold (Geoffrey Rush), and SWIMMING UPSTRWEAM depicts the dedication it took to win his respect. Born into a large family and convinced by his father that he will never amount to the achievements of his brothers, Tony attempts to win his father's respect by becoming a champion swimmer. Despite his best efforts to please his father, Tony also begins to realize his own self-worth in the process.

Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis
1 hour 38 minutes

Swimming Upstream

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Product Details

Genres Sports, Drama
Director Russell Mulcahy
Starring Geoffrey Rush, Judy Davis
Supporting actors Jesse Spencer, Tim Draxl, Deborah Kennedy, David Hoflin, Craig Horner, Brittany Byrnes, Mitchell Dellevergin, Thomas Davidson, Kain O'Keeffe, Robert Quinn, Keeara Byrnes, Mark Hembrow, Simon Burvill-Holmes, Bob Newman, Andrew Nason, Barrie Young, Michael Earnshaw, Remi Broadway
Studio MGM
MPAA rating PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 24 hour viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Jesse Spencer, who plays Tony, is also quite good.
Watch this movie, you will cheer, cry, and get angry, but it's a well made film.
Its about a family where the boys try to win their fathers love and approval.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By thornhillatthemovies.com VINE VOICE on June 7, 2005
Format: DVD
I guarantee that you have not heard of "Swimming Upstream". This is a shame. Although it is not a great film, it deserves a larger audience.

Harold Fingleton (Geoffrey Rush, "Shine", "Quills") is an abusive, alcoholic father. His wife, Dora (Judy Davis, "Husbands and Wives") seems to put up with it, to keep their family of four boys and one daughter together. Trying to eke out a living on the docks, Harold frequently spends what money he makes on beer and leaves the family to fend for themselves. The oldest son, Harold Jr. is the light of his father's eye. Good at football, Harold is proud of Jr. and makes no effort to hide the fact that he favors the one son. The other sons then compete for their father's attentions. One day at the pool, Harold realizes that two of his sons are quite good. Tony has an amazing backstroke and John is a great freestyle swimmer. Harold switches his attentions to John and begins coaching them both, pushing them to become better. Five years later, the two boys are entering competitions and still looking for their father's approval. Tony (Jesse Spencer) is becoming quite a force on the junior competition circuit and will probably win. John (Tim Draxl), a year younger, is still the apple of his father's eye, but has conflicting feelings about his relationship with his brother, Tony.

Based on a true story, "Swimming Upstream", directed by Russell Mulcahy, is a riveting story. At times it becomes a little soap opera-ish, but the force of the performances helps the film stand out.

No film starring Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis is going to be bad. Both people are amazing actors and take these roles by the reins and ride them for all they are worth. Rush plays Harold Fingleton, a real bastard.
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Format: DVD
SWIMMING UPSTREAM is a brilliantly acted, deeply involving and ultimately uplifting film from Australia that deserves major audience exposure. Based on a true story of one of Australia's many championship athletes, this story is not merely another biopic (although it was autobiographically written by Anthony Fingleton, the subject of the film): this is a story about large families of poverty, about the tragedies that befall families husbanded by an alcoholic abusive father, and about the ultimate triumph of the individual soul rising out of such conditions.

Harold Fingleton (Geoffrey Rush) is a drunk, a blue collar worker who has sired five children by a strong but enabling wife Dora (Judy Davis), a man whose focus on sports finds a possible escape from his joblessness when he discovers that his two middle sons Tony (Jesse Spencer) and the younger John (Tim Draxl) are able swimmers. For reasons unclear Harold focuses on John and while he relentlessly coaches both of the boys at the town pool every day, he decides John is going to be the champion swimmer in Australia. Tony excels in the backstroke and eventually surpasses his beloved brother John's times and proceeds to win the honors Harold expected of John.

Throughout this tale of competition in swimming we are privy to the competition within the home. Harold, Jr (David Hoflin) is initially the bully yet gradually succumbs to his father's alcoholic lifestyle. Dora is beaten and abused yet is always there for her children, eking out a living and soothing the flare-up tantrums during Harold's drunken states. Tony and John cycle through periods of mutual adulation and the alternative fierce competition into which they are thrown by their father: their evolving bond is unforgettably touching.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By G. Bestick VINE VOICE on October 17, 2005
Format: DVD
With first-rate performances by two bankable stars and a well-crafted, emotionally honest story line, it's a mystery why this movie blipped so quickly in and out of the theaters.

Swimming Upstream is based on the real-life story of Tony Fingleton, a young Australian swimmer, but the film is much more than a feel-good tale of Tony's aquatic triumphs. It's about the desperate attachments of a dysfunctional family, and in particular, Tony's struggles to win the love and approval of Harold, his emotionally damaged father.

Harold (Geoffrey Rush) had a rough childhood during the Depression, and saw too much too soon. He becomes a hard-drinking dock worker who takes out his resentments on his long-suffering wife Dora (Judy Davis) and their five children. Harold is particularly tough on Tony (Jesse Spencer). He won't acknowledge Tony's accomplishments, and takes a particular delight in pitting Tony in competitions against his brothers, especially his brother John, also an accomplished swimmer.

With a huge assist from his mother, Tony transmutes the trauma of his home life into a mental toughness that serves him well in school and in the pool. After winning national championships in Australia, he gets a swimming scholarship to Harvard, and takes himself off to America and a better life. Tony's major triumph isn't winning swim meets or scholarships, though; it's finding the inner strength to not become bitter and emotionally callous himself.

Director Russell Mulcahey serves up engrossing, occasionally wrenching domestic scenes, and injects excitement into the swim meets by focusing on the family tensions the competitions generate - there's so much more at stake for Tony than simply winning a backstroke race.
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