Wednesday, November 29, 2023


Based on true events, Nyad offers the attempts of retired long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad (Annette Bening) who in her 60s became obsessed with completing the swim from Havana to Florida which she failed to accomplish in her 20s. While in many ways your typical sports drama featuring an athlete overcoming impossible odds, and driven (and haunted) by personal experience, the film's story is elevated by the performances of Benning and by Jodie Foster who plays Diana's best friend and coach throughout her multiple attempts to make history.

Everyone should have a friend like Bonnie Stoll (Foster) whose role in the film is to help smooth the extremely sharp edges of her self-obsessed best friend to those around them and to the audience. Despite her talent and drive, Benning's Diana Nyad isn't easy to like but simply having Bonnie like her, despite their own minor squabbles along the way, makes all the difference.

The film's other notable performance is by Rhys Ifans as the navigator to all of Diana Nyad's attempts in her 60s to complete the swim who, like apparently everyone, bumped heads with the narcissistic Nyad from time to time but never gave up in helping her achieve her dream.

While ignoring the controversies of Nyad's achievement (which currently isn't recognized by either the World Open Water Swimming Association or The Guinness Book of World Records) and playing up some sequences for dramatic effect, the script by Julia Cox, based on Nyad's autobiography, knows how to hit the right beats to show the struggle and eventually earn the film's payoff. Even if the abrasive Nyad isn't the easiest person to root for, the choice to present her as she was is certainly a strong one even if it does potentially cap your investment in her as a movie character. However, what she's trying to accomplish is, which allows for an entertaining, if not always emotionally engaging, story.

Watch the trailer
  • Title: Nyad
  • IMDb: link

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