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Swimming Upstream (2002)

  Directed by: Russell Mulcahy
Starring: Judy Davis, Tim Draxl, Geoffrey Rush, Jesse Spencer
Links: Swimming Upstream on the IMDb
Genre: Based on True Story
Awards: AFI Awards: Best Film 2002 (nominee)

This movie gets: 7.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

"Top acting, amazing life story" - a review by pearly

Swimming Upstream is the biographical story of the life of Anthony "Tony" Fingleton, an Australian national champion backstroker. Written by Tony himself, the film follows Tony and his siblings from a young age through to early adulthood. Jesse Spencer plays Tony (he's come a long way since playing Billy in Neighbours), who lives constantly in the shadow of his brother John (Tim Draxl), who is also a brilliant swimmer.

From a very early age, Tony strives for his father Harold's approval. Harold (Geoffrey Rush), a struggling alcoholic, is extremely overbearing and wants his boys to be sporty and macho. Tony is not all that interested in football, so Harold thinks he's useless. Eventually, Harold discovers that both Tony and John are good swimmers, and he puts them into intensive training right away.

Tying everything together is Judy Davis, who plays Dora, Tony's mother. She is almost a polar opposite parental figure to Harold; offering support at every step, but she is quite vulnerable and doesn't cope too well with Harold's controlling nature. Interestingly, Geoffrey Rush's character is very similar to the father character in Shine (1996) (in which Geoffrey played the son). There are many parallels that can be drawn between these two life stories.

Swimming Upstream could probably have been edited a little more; it becomes repetitive in parts. But it is an inspirational story that shows that you are what you make of yourself, with or without the help of those around you.

pearly gives this movie 7 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 24 Sep 2002

Movie review statistics

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Reader comments

  1. i read this book for an assignment and loved it and the movie is a credit to the fingleton family. i hope that it has helped the development of each individual who hears this story

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Anna Pearce on Tue 07 Oct 2003 17:15 #

  2. wateva charlay

    A comment from fred on Thu 17 Jun 2004 21:00 #

  3. hey rosie n bec

    A comment from bob on Thu 17 Jun 2004 21:05 #

  4. Hey Bernards Boys!

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from iKatiKa on Sat 07 Aug 2004 18:46 #

  5. an incredible film/novel. currently doing an assignment on it now. I never seem to be able to do anything to please my parents either, so i can relate to the material in that aspect. had me in tears.
    FANTASTIC

    Rating given: 10

    A comment from Jesse Hooper on Tue 26 Oct 2004 10:53 #

Those who have commented give this movie: 10.00 (3 ratings)

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