Home Movies Toronto Review: Annette Bening Is Ready for Her Oscar As Famed Swimmer...

Annette Bening should have had Oscars before now, but this is her time.

Bening plays Olympic swimmer and broadcaster Diana Nyad in the true story of the athlete’s challenge to swim from Cuba to Key West at the age of 61. This really happened: Nyad went on this mission four times before completing it on the fifth.

What you think looks like maybe a not so interesting sports mockumentary turns out to be a terrific, top notch film in the hands of directors Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi. They’ve made exciting action documentaries like “Free Solo” and “Meru,” and a won a lot of awards. But this is their first narrative film with actors — Bening and two time Oscar winner Jodie Foster at the forefront — and they’ve pulled it off.

Julia Cox wrote the screenplay from Nyad’s book and at first you do think this is fairly simple story of Nyad achieving a dream she attempted and failed at in 1978. Cox, a TV writer, soon finds her legs as the film settles down introducing everyone and we get to see Bening — stripped of make up and beefing up — peel back the layers of a know it all, not always sympathetic woman who has battled through life for some success.

Bening isn’t alone in this endeavor. Foster plays Bonnie, her former girlfriend and now manager and best friend with disarming charm. Foster usually plays tough characters. But Bonnie is so likeable, she’s our way “in” to Nyad. You figure if Bonnie likes her, we should too. The casting works beautifully. Rhys Ifans is the amiable ship captain who helps the ladies on their adventures, and a supporting of crew members rounds out the gang.

“Nyad” — as Diana tells us over and over — is about not giving up. But it’s also about friendship and perseverance. There’s also spectacular cinematography and editing that give the movie an edge even though you surmise that everyone will come out ok.

Please let’s give Annette Bening her Oscar already. She trained for this thing like a professional athlete, is never anything but authentic in her portrayal of Nyad. It’s the performance of a lifetime, after many, many others.

Share and Enjoy !

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.