Entertainment Magazine


Posted on the 03 December 2023 by Sirmac2 @macthemovieguy

Where I watched it: Netflix

English Audio Description?: Yes

This has been a year for Diana Nyad. Perhaps not her most special or groundbreaking, as she is a former Olympic swimmer, as well as being the first to swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys. The existence of a biopic has caused people to debate whether or not she did technically swim the distance, because we live in this world of alternative facts. So if there’s a fact you don’t like, you can pick another. Don’t like that Diana Nyad is a swimmer? She’s not. She’s actually a 15th century dressmaker. She didn’t really swim from Cuba to the Florida Keys. That was Kanye. Or is he still going by “Ye” now? Oh, and she’s also pretty outspoken when it comes to transgender athletes, proving that the LGBT banner she falls under stops at the L for her.

Even with all of that, I went into Nyad with an open mind. The directors of Free Solo were giving Annette Bening the kind of film she could finally win an Oscar for, and they were bringing along Jodie Foster and Rhys Ifans for the ride. I was actually excited, all things considered.

The film we get isn’t so much a biopic as it is focusing on this moment in Diana’s life when she decided to start to train again to complete this impossible task she tried many years ago. She just couldn’t put it off any longer, and she refused to let age be her barrier. So, she teams up with her best friend (Foster), and a relatively unconventional navigator (Ifans) to be the first to complete the task.

What works here is the decision to intersperse the real life archive footage of Diana with the movie shot starring Bening. It reminds you these things happened, and shows the comparison of Bening to Nyad. Bening, for her part, is terrific. She’s beyond the point of me caring which film she wins the Oscar for, and it’s more like I just want her to win the damn Oscar. I can’t imagine she’ll ever top my favorite performance of hers, for which she was not nominated, as Sydney in The American President. It might be my favorite film, the true top of the list, so I’m biased. At this point, just throw an Oscar at her and call it a day. Here, I’d actually be pretty OK with it. I didn’t get the hype she was getting a few years back for The Report, but she earns the accolades here, really giving 110% to the role. At the very end, we see footage of her training to swim alongside Diana. I believe it. She took this role seriously, and it comes through. Some film critics, who are somehow still allowed to write for major publications (unlike myself), have called her unlikeable and difficult. She’s not. She’s determined. It’s just that she’s a woman, so people misinterpret her behavior as being unbecoming. If she was a man, she would be called determined and brave by those same critics.

Foster is also brilliant here as the best friend of Nyad, who becomes her coach. The great thing about this role is that it showcases this unique relationship between two lesbians who dated once, and decided they were best as friends. Now, Foster is her ride or die, and she does a lot with that. Like bening, foster has been in a ton of roles where she’s been great. However, again, an Oscar nomination here would feel great since she hasn’t been nominated since Nell. It’s been almost 30 years.

Who needs to be getting more praise is Rhys Ifans, who broke onto the scene as the memorably dorky best friend to Hugh Grant in Notting Hill. He’s of course had many chances to surpass that, and even as recently as his role on House Of The Dragon. Here, he sounds like Gerard Butler, and puts on a serious face, and tries not to get Diana killed.

Overall, it’s a strong film, with some harrowing moments. there are multiple attempts made, so I wish the film hadn’t waste.Like, the first run, we know she’s going to fail.

The audio description soars as Diana has to fend off agains.

Will it get a UU

Final Grade: A-

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