A Rising Tide

By not rushing things, Doug Sadler brings understated magic and beauty to his tale of a waterman's family struggling to stay afloat in `Swimmers'

Review A-

March 31, 2006|By CHRIS KALTENBACH | CHRIS KALTENBACH,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

There's a lot of emotional baggage being carried around in Swimmers, a remarkable slice-of-life film about a disintegrating Eastern Shore family that is both heartbreaking and, in ways that sort of sneak up on you, quietly hopeful.

Eschewing grand gestures in favor of reflective moments more intimate and far more satisfying, this second feature from Easton's Doug Sadler has the courage to allow its characters room to grow while never demanding that they do. The men and women on display here spend a lot of time stumbling and falling, but resolutely - sometimes courageously, sometimes foolishly - push on. Sadler's film, from a script he spent more than five years developing, gives viewers the time and space to rejoice in the characters' minor triumphs, empathize with their often daunting struggles, and reflect on the despair that sometimes beats them down, other times pushes them forward.

Swimmers (Skouras Pictures) Starring Cherry Jones, Sarah Paulson, Tara Devon Gallagher, Robert Knott. Directed by Doug Sadler. Unrated. Time 89 minutes.

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