Volume 21, Number 51 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | May 1 - 7, 2009
FILM REVIEW: THE SWIMSUIT ISSUE
TRIBECA FILM FESTIVAL
April 22 through May 3
“The Swimsuit Issue” screens Thursday, April 30, 9:15p.m. at AMC Village VII (66 Third Ave. at 11th St.) and Saturday, May 2, 4:00p.m. at Tribeca Cinemas, 54 Varick St.
“The Swimsuit Issue”
No photo credit
Synchronized Swedes, from “The Swimsuit Issue”
BY JOSH ROGERS
Perhaps not surprisingly, “The Swimsuit Issue,” a Swedish film about a middle-aged group of men who start their own synchronized swimming team, is one of the Tribeca Film Festival's buzz entries. Think “The Full Monty” with a dash of “Little Miss Sunshine” — although “Swimsuit” while enjoyable, does not quite reach the level of either of those very good movies.
There are some laughs as the team gets in touch with its metrosexuality and fends off assumptions of homosexuality as they work toward the big competition. The funny moments are not enough to sustain the movie — but the film’s touching story, about a father and his teenage daughter growing closer as they work together, make it a film worth seeing.
Directed and co-written by Mans Herngren, “Swimsuit” is the brainchild of one of the other screenwriters, Jane Magnusson, who loosely based the story around a real group of male synchronized swimmers.
“Swimsuit” also looks at changing roles of the sexes, male feelings of reverse sex discrimination, and stereotypes about gender and competition.
I go out of my way to avoid knowing much about the plot before seeing a film; but for those who need to know, the swim team is formed by Fredrik (Jonas Inde), an unemployed journalist who had quit his job (he says fired) because he would not rewrite a story to his female editor’s liking. His daughter Sara (Amanda Davin), a synchronized swimmer, comes to live with Fredrik temporarily when her mother moves to London for a good job opportunity.
When Fredrik’s regular floorball (indoor hockey) time is cut in favor of a female team, he decides to use Sara’s team uniforms for a bachelor party escapade. This eventually leads to the floorball team taking up a new sport with Sara as the coach.
Overall, the acting was good — with a standout performance from Davin and a solid effort by Inde. Peter Gardiner was also strong in a supporting role as the team member who had trouble with the gay assumptions (performing at a Pride event didn’t help).
The movie, which was sold out over a week in advance, may find its way to a larger audience. Many at my screening appeared to think it was even better than I did.