I save the best for last. This is a film that has been bouncing around various cities, arthouse theaters, and film festivals for some time now. This wonderful coming-of-age comedy-drama is mainly the product of Robert J. Siegel, who directed, co-wrote, co-produced, and is handling the distribution of the movie through his Oceanside Pictures. It's coming to my home market of Baltimore this weekend, but it has had long engagements in such cities as Boston, Dallas, and San Diego. See it if you get the chance, or save this review and give the film a look when it reaches video, DVD, and/or cable. You'll be glad you did.
Lauren Ambrose of "Six Feet Under" stars as Frankie, a sensitive young woman who yearns for more of a life than the one she now has in Myrtle Beach, working for the family business (a burger restaurant) and cruising the boardwalk at night with her outspoken friend Nicola (Jennifer Dundas Lowe). Two new arrivals in a town--a beautiful waitress (Joelle Carter) and a handsome drifter (Jamie Harrold), who each take an interest in her--force the redheaded tomboy to re-think where she is going in life.
"Swimming" is one of those little perfect miracle movies that calls to mind everything from "American Graffiti" to "Ruby in Paradise." The cast of young stars is uniformly good and the screenplay really resonates with warmth and understanding, remembering that crucial time in a person's life where the inexperience of youth clashes with the promises of maturity. Siegel and co-screenwriters Lisa Bazadona and Grace Woodland respect both their characters and their audience. Yes, the kids all look terrific in their swimsuits. But the film never drifts into exploitation or cheap thrills (or cheap sentiment, for that matter).
For more on "Swimming," please log onto my Web site at www.flickville.com and read my candid, one-on-one interview with Robert J. Siegel. And if you live in the Baltimore area, this film opens Aug. 16 at the Charles Theater downtown.
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