Swimming With Men (2018)

Yet again, a film which I knew absolutely nothing about. It is weird how I can see so many films at the cinema (37 so far this year) and yet there’s still a lot of films where I don’t see the trailer beforehand (11 so far I’ve gone into blind), it doesn’t say much for film marketing really does it? So, this film, it’s about someone who goes swimming, with men (oh my science that’s why it’s called that! That’s SO clever). It’s based on a true story about a group of middle-aged Swedish men who started a swim team. In a nice touch, they’re in the film, playing a Swedish swim team who in everything. I like that.

Of course it’s a low budget British film; but it’s very different from a lot of films like that. For starters, this isn’t about a group of elderly British people doing things, this is completely different; it’s about a group of middle-aged British people doing things.  There’s no way a major American company would finance this, and for good reason; a lot of people won’t like this. Some of the dialogue is quite bad, almost none of the actors will be known outside of this country, and it’s so slow paced it’s almost glacial. Plus, it’s a film about synchronised swimming, which isn’t exactly a major source of excitement for casual moviegoers (although it does provide some spectacular cinematography).

If you’re unsure about whether to watch it, the opening won’t change your mind. It’s a typical “middle-aged person is bored and thinks his wife is cheating on him” that you’ve seen MULTIPLE times before. Actually, there’s not much in here you haven’t seen before, outside of the swimming sections. But that’s where it shines. The swimmers are people who come together to escape their mundane lives, they don’t give any details of their private lives to each other, they just use it as an outlet for frustrations through teamwork and bonding. It’s actually a lot sweeter than I’m making it sound. It would be even sweeter if the film was a bit longer. If it was longer it would give some of the other characters more to do, as it is there are a few members of the team who you completely forget about, one of them is someone who never speaks, he speaks finally near the end in what is supposed to be a big moment, but in reality you’d have barely noticed him in the film and will completely forget about that being his character trait. This does make it sound like I disliked it, that’s wrong though. It was funny, incredibly heartwarming, and the characters that we did focus on were really well written in terms of their interactions with each other.

It’s also incredibly funny at times. But in a believable way. There was a lot of opportunities for silly slapstick but it admirably never takes them, instead going for character-based jokes and dialogue. Still not enough to forgive the criminal misuse of Jane Horrocks though.

I’d suggest seeing it if you can get in cheaply, otherwise, I’d wait for it to inevitably be on BBC over Christmas, and then watch it then.

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