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The Swimmer
IMDB Rating: 7.7/10 from 5,857 votes
Release: 15 May 1968 (USA) /

The Swimmer

Genre: Drama
Director: Frank Perry,
Stars: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Synopsis: Neddy Merrill has been away for most of the Summer. He reappears at a friends pool. As they talk, someone notices that there are pools spanning the entire valley. He decided to jog from pool to pool to swim the whole valley. As he stops in each pool his interactions tell his life story. Written by John Vogel <[email protected]>

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Critic Reviews


Frank Perry's screen adaptation of the achingly sad John Cheever short story gets the tone of Cheever's story just right, even if the movie itself doesn't have quite the same impact.

There have been countless strong and powerful films made around the theme of suburban loneliness, and this movie belongs to that genre. There's something so poignant about the idea that someone can exist in a world that's manufactured for the sole purpose of providing its inhabitants with luxury, pleasure and convenience, and still be miserable. You'd think people would have gotten the point by now, and figured out that privilege, wealth and materialism have virtually nothing to do with ultimate happiness, but if our own consumerist culture is any indication, they haven't.

What helps "The Swimmer" to stand out from other similarly-themed films is the way the story is told. It's only through the reactions of others that we begin to sense what's wrong with Burt Lancaster's character. To us, he looks the picture of middle-aged robustness and health. Lancaster became a much better actor as he aged, and he gives a wonderful performance here, as his bravado and macho virility (the strutting and preening of a man on top of the world) slowly dissolves into a lost insecurity, until the film's final devastating moments leave him as forlorn as a baby.

What a sad, sad movie.

Grade: A-

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