Swimming Upstream (2003)

"Against all odds, he found the strength to become a champion"

The pride of a nation. The heart of a champion. The true story of Tony Fingleton

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Swimming Upstream

Website created by Melissa Goulding
This website is optimised for a screen width of 1280 pixels.
Year: 2003
Running Time: 114 min / Australia: 105 min
Production Company: Upstream Productions Pty. Ltd.
Rating: M15+

This website was designed for an assignment at Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, for a unit called Australian Cinema (EDU231). We were to choose an Australian film, which had not been criticised by previous Australian Cinema students, and critically review, analyse, reflect and provide a comprehensive report of the films information.

I decided to review Swimming Upstream, directed by Russell Mulcahy and adapted from Diane and Tony Fingletons Autobiographies. I hope this site offers you with a position on Australian film in relation to Swimming Upstream and an informative look at the True Story of Tony Fingleton.

Film Outline

Swimming Upstream is a social problem, women’s, coming of age and biopic film, which follows Tony Fingletons dream to become the number one backstroker in the World. Tony lives in a dysfunctional family where his three brothers, younger sister and Mother live in the fear of their Father, Harold Fingleton. Swimming Upstream is a heart-rending and inspirational true story of Toni Fingletons struggle to be accepted and loved by his father. The film deals with issues of working class struggles, domestic violence, reconciliation, success and failure.

Official Movie Site: swimmingupstreammovie.com

Review: Julia Rigg, Radio National "This is a film which dares question some of the basic models of Australian masculinity, and tie them into some less-than-attractive power plays within the family... ts most intersting when it steps out of its framework of dramatic realism and gives us some moments of psychic reverie as well".


Review: Louise Keller, Urbancinefile "Poignant and powerful, Swimming Upstream is an unforgettable story about dreams, ambition and family. Anthony Fingleton’s story touches us on every level, and we can’t help but get involved in the life of this outstanding young man who defies all odds to achieve his dreams".

Review: Impact Internet Services "There are moments of despair, moments of joy and feelings of triumph all wrapped up in "Swimming Upstream". It will have you laughing, feeling nostalgic, hating Harold, cheering for Tony and crying at the heart tugging scenes between Tony and his mother. In the end though, "Swimming Upstream" will leave you feeling extremely proud. Proud to be an aussie and proud at the accomplishments of our great film industry which is rapidly becoming the envy of the world".

Review: Rose Capp, Senses of Cinema "An interesting genre hybrid, part family melodrama, part sporting saga, part coming-of-age story. It is also a film concerned with the representation of a particular social and cultural milieu. Fingleton's script, while portraying Harold for the most part as a deeply unsympathetic character, is nevertheless interested in exploring the emotional travails of a specific generation of post-war Australian men".

Review: Mark Hembrow, Triple j ABC "Swimming Upstream is a nice solid piece of Australian filmmaking...very genuine in its intent and authentic in its execution".

Review: Joe Utichi, Film Focus UK "Fingleton's story is rather inspirational, you leave feeling rather lazy for not having worked as hard as Fingleton clearly did to achieve his success, and it's perhaps one of the best ensemble casts we've seen enter biopic land in a while".

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