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825 Ratings

The Swimmer

United States, 1968


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 decides to jog from pool to pool to swim the whole valley.

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The Swimmer Directed by Frank Perry, Sydney Pollack

Critics reviews

Whatever the film had to invent to accommodate its own movieness, it retains the story’s grimmest emotional torque… What literature does in our heads, privately, cinema does in the room, totemically. It’s possible to read the story as one man’s psychological tribulation, but the film is about an entire generation of mystified American men.
June 14, 2017
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However you parse the film’s high and low points you have to admit that there is not now, nor has there ever been, anything quite like it. The last scene is cornball but also freakishly powerful. We seem to be experiencing Ned’s final collapse from inside his own mind. He’s Willy Loman and Miss Havisham put together, and the wind and water just keep scourging the ivy-covered walls of what used to be his home. He is the author of his misfortune, but at the same time, no one deserves this.
February 08, 2016
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The literal “truth” of The Swimmer doesn’t much matter, though, as it conveys the emotional texture of social disconnection with a vividness that’s exceptionally unusual for American films featuring iconic movie stars. Lancaster achieves something that’s difficult and altogether remarkable for films or art of any sort: He allows you to see how the hero sees himself and how that view poignantly and tragically differs from the way his world has grown to see him.
March 13, 2014
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