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Against the Current
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When is life not worth living anymore? A marvelous cast led by Joseph Fiennes explores that question when Paul Thompson (Fiennes of Shakespeare in Love and Elizabeth) talks old buddy Jeff (Justin Kirk of Weeds) into helping him fulfill a crazy childhood dream of swimming the entire 150 mile length of the Hudson River. Joined by Liz, a teacher intrigued by their scheme (Elizabeth Reaser of The Twilight Saga and Emmy nominated for TV s Grey s Anatomy), they plunge into the adventure with glee. But Paul and Liz soon realize Paul is driven by more than just the stunt when they find out Paul s deadline to finish is also the anniversary of his wife s unexpected death. Is swimming against the current a struggle against sadness or the last act of a man who is ready to give in to grief? Mary Tyler Moore (multiple Emmy winner and Oscar nominee for Ordinary People) and Michelle Trachtenberg (TV s Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Mysterious Skin) round out the cast of this thoroughly original and conversation-starting drama.
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Was a bit funny some DVD's out there where not made to run on American DVD's but finally we found a wonderful Buyer who had the right one.
Runs perfect and is very enjoyable movie.
This film definitely is effecting, and very beautifully shot. I liked seeing the changing scenery on the riverbanks from the point of view of being in the water. The movie contained alot of humor, and it was delivered naturally and realistically.
The scenes with Mary Tyler Moore were funny but uncomfortable as well, giving me a sense on one hand that whoever she was addressing was a sort of trapped insect that she could crush without a second thought, yet on another, sometimes seeming as though she would be quite shocked that anyone would think her malicious. I think her daughter was the permanently trapped insect.
I thought that in their own ways, Jeff and Liz were just as lost as Paul was, as in Liz's case, with a mother who never really saw her or listened to her. We hear that Jeff's parents are also very wealthy and similarly uninterested/disappointed in him. Other than this, the characters are not very well developed, to the film's detriment.
The film did stretch believability quite a bit. One day a guy decides to swim 140 miles of the river, and so he jumps in a wetsuit and off he goes, with no training whatsoever, and despite swimming miles each day, never appears to be even tired, let alone sore and exhausted. Even professional swimmers have to train for endurance events. I thought it was funny that in the last scenes after getting out of the water, his hair was dry.
I have to say that you would have to go far to find someone more self absorbed and selfish than Paul. I understood that he was grieving, but as Liz pointed out in a great scene, everyone suffers, everyone loses those that they love, and most people find a way to go on. There are others who cling to their grief and refuse to move past it, and I believe for these people it becomes more narcissism than grief, a thinking only about self, and a complete lack of consideration or empathy for anyone around them, let alone being about the lost loved ones. Paul exhibited that lack of consideration when he completely dismissed Jeff's years long friendship and the pain it would cause him if Paul died. Paul started a relationship with Liz, giving her false hope, when he had every intention of leaving her. The final scenes, when he did what he did IN FRONT of them, were shocking to me, that anyone could be so brutal and horribly insensitive to those he supposedly cared about.
The film was supposed to be about the ravages of grief and pain but to me it showed more the grief and pain Paul inflicted than what he felt.
Three stars for a movie that has a very interesting, thought provoking premise, and as I said, beautifully filmed. It could have been much better with more character development.
Most recent customer reviews
What I like is the plot - simple enough: guy wants to swim the 300+ mile...Read more