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'Swimming', 'Sporting Dog' among film festival must-sees
Three and a half Stars
by Tim Miller

This year's Woods Hole event, running through Saturday, features more than 50 films. I've seen seven of them - three full-length features and four shorts - and two are exceptional.

Both, coincidently, will be screened today at the Hoyts Nickelodeon in North Falmouth.

Lauren Ambrose, Swimming
Lauren Ambrose gives a sensitive performance in the coming-of-age film "Swimming."
"Swimming," directed by Robert J. Siegel, is a compassionate, understated, leisurely paced film about a shy, plain young woman, Frankie (Lauren Ambrose), coming of age in the carnival-like resort town of Myrtle Beach, S.C. Frankie co-owns a busy diner with her older brother (Josh Pais), who controls the profits and treats Frankie as if she's just one of the help. When not working, she hangs out with her wild best pal, Nicola (Jennifer Dundas Lowe), who owns a street-side body-piercing salon.

Then sexy Josee (Joelle Carter) shows up and starts working at the diner as a waitress. Frankie finds herself drawn to Josee, and Nicola doesn't like it. To further complicate matters, a dope-smoking drifter (James Villemaire) who sells tie-dye T-shirts from his van arrives in town and has his eye on Frankie.

It's hard to know where all of this is heading, and that's part of the film's appeal. More character-driven than plot-driven, "Swimming" also benefits from the sensitive, intellegent performance of Ambrose, whom filmgoers might remember for her movie-stealing turn in the 1998 teen comedy "Can't Hardly Wait."

If there's any justice, Ambrose should become a big star - and "Swimming" should find a wide audience.

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