The Big Bad Swim (review)

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Don’t be misled by the awful DVD cover, which makes this look like a bimbofest produced by Playboy. A festival favorite across the U.S. in 2006, this is one of the best unreleased films I’ve seen in ages, one that deserves as wide an audience as possible now that it’s on DVD. Smart, wise, and effortlessly appealing, this is an uncomplicated but sneakily profound tale of an adult swim class geared at grownups afraid of the water… and afraid of lots of other stuff as well, of course. We get closest to Amy (Paget Brewster: Eulogy), a schoolteacher whose marriage is falling apart, and Jordan (Jess Weixler), a casino dealer and stripper who, in a delightful twist on cliché, is perfectly comfortable with her work but uneasy in other aspects of her life; their newfound camaraderie sucks in Noah (Jeff Branson), their swim instructor, who has issues of his own that need healing. Perfect performances, a script (by Daniel Schechter) that’s funny and observant while never being less than sensible and truthful, and a resolute determination by director Ishai Setton not to let his film be anything more than the sweet, simple story that it is makes this an absolute treat. Extras include filmmaker’s commentary, a cinematographer’s video journal, and deleted scenes. [buy at Amazon]

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