Swimming Upstream PG-13 CC

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(39) 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

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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)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Coffee Klatch Reviews on October 26, 2010
Format: DVD
Sometimes, success is both caused by and causes great tragedy. That seems to be the case in Swimming Upstream, a biopic based on the life of Anthony (Tony) Fingleton, who won a silver medal in the 1962 British Empire and Commonwealth Games and could have been on the Australian team for the '64 olympics, but chose to attend Harvard instead.

The older Tony is played by Jesse Spencer, who gives off that wholesome feeling one associates with Cary Elwes or Richard Thomas. (The younger Tony is played by Mitchell Dellevergin.) Tony is the second of five kids in a family that leads an existence forever short of money. His dad, Harold (Geoffrey Rush) is often on strike at the docks, and his mom, Dora (Judy Davis), depends on scraps of overrun fabric and a tab at the local grocery store in order to make ends meet. We learn right at the beginning that life with Dad is completely dependent on his mood and how much he's been drinking. Dad might show some rare affection, but he is just as likely to give you or Mom a quick backhand across the face.

As if life with Dad wasn't hard enough, Tony has to deal with an older, bullying brother, played in the younger case by a very frightening Kain O'Keeffe. He is named Harold Jr. after his father, and he inflicts on Tony a miniature version of Dad's abuse. In one scene of sibling jealousy, Harold Jr. slams a piano keyboard cover down on Tony's fingers. When Tony runs out and tells Dad, Dad doesn't punish Harold Jr., but instead has them put on boxing gloves, which, of course, leads to Tony getting double punishment. At this point we are wondering what is going on with Dad. Is he just generally sadistic? Or does he not like Tony specifically?
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