Nyad (Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Jimmy Chin, 2023) Annette Bening, Jodie Foster, Rhys Ifans; true story of athlete Diana Nyad who, at the age of 60 and with the help of her best friend and coach, commits to achieving her life-long dream: a 110-mile open ocean swim from Cuba to Florida
Annette Bening plays Nyad as a tough, borderline-crazy person, never giving up, even after multiple abortive efforts. She looks at people with eyes crinkled up and narrowed in incredulous and crazed disdain, like Clint Eastwood reading an optician’s chart. Bening pulls out all the stops as Nyad has a near-breakdown while she pursues the obsessive goal that could kill her. There is, sadly, much less for Jodie Foster to get her teeth into as her coach, friend and one-time lover Bonnie, who cajoles and exhorts her, but never looks all that upset or stressed by anything. It is a part that really doesn’t test her. Rhys Ifans has the Robert Shaw role, playing the grizzled old captain, piloting everyone through shark-infested, fatigue-infested, failure-infested waters. The Guardian.
As the film wears on, Diana’s personal motivations are increasingly blurred, and to the point that she comes to be defined almost exclusively by the adversity over which she triumphs. At the close, more real-life footage of Diane Nyad that attests to her spontaneous charisma and idiosyncrasies only drives home the extent to which Vasarhelyi and Chin’s film reduces her to a mere symbol of hope and determination, albeit one with an undeniable force.
Garry Gillard | reviews | New: 13 November, 2023 | Now: 13 November, 2023