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Swimming Upstream (2003) Poster

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Tony Fingleton: [narrating] It's funny how the stumbling blocks of life can help make us better people. I never had the support of my father, but in the end that's what gave me the strength to seek something more than I could've ever imagined. Something in another world.

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Tony Fingleton: [narrating] I was always a little afraid of my father. From my earliest memory there was nothing I could do to please him. I just... never connected to him. So I fell between the cracks.

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Harold Fingleton: [to Tony while having Harold Jr. beat him up in a boxing lesson] What're you crying for?

Young Harold Jr.: [whilst boxing] You are. You're crying!

Young Tony: [sobbing] I'm not!

Young Harold Jr.: [punches Tony again] You are now!

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Harold Fingleton: [in a drunken stupor, to Tony] When I was your age, I was tougher.

Tony Fingleton: What are you talking about?

Harold Fingleton: You're far too weak. You make me feel ashamed. I wish you didn't exist.

Dora Fingleton: Oh, Tony, come to bed.

[Tony leaves]

Harold Fingleton: They were a bunch of animals. Bastards.

Dora Fingleton: Harold, what happened? What happened today, hmm? What happened? How'd you get that mark on your face?

Harold Fingleton: Coppers came out and, um... I think I fell over. Coppers...

Dora Fingleton: Was it...

Harold Fingleton: It was all so long ago that they were animals. And my mother... My mother, she was there. THEY WERE ANIMALS!

Dora Fingleton: What?

Harold Fingleton: You're a very good woman, Dora. Where's Tony?

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Dora Fingleton: [about Tony, proudly] Your son's just won the junior championship.

Harold Fingleton: [to John] Wait'll these mugs see what you can do.

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Tony Fingleton: [after losing to John] You reckon I could swim from here to America?

Dora Fingleton: You just gonna sit here feeling sorry for yourself?

Tony Fingleton: No, John's the star. He's a better swimmer than me. He always was. He's good, Mum. John's number one.

Dora Fingleton: You know it's just one race. There's gonna be plenty of races for you.

Tony Fingleton: Mum, it's too late, all right? How many years have I been swimming? I wanted to win a medal. I wanted to be a champion and win a medal at the Olympics.

[sighs]

Tony Fingleton: You know? You know, I wanted to BE somebody.

Dora Fingleton: Oh, you think you're nobody, hmm? Winning a medal isn't gonna change that...

Tony Fingleton: Look, Mum, it's not about that, all right? I wanted... I had this plan, all right? I thought that... maybe... if I could get to the top in swimming, then it would lead to something and then I could... get so I could just... I could... I could just GO!

[sobs]

Dora Fingleton: You can't let this break you, okay? You gotta be very strong up here in the head, okay? Listen. Listen. My darling boy, I love you. I love you. I'm so proud of you.

Tony Fingleton: I love you, too.

Dora Fingleton: My darling boy. Only you can make something of yourself. Not your father and not me. Now, if swimming is what you're after, then there's always next year. But, you know, there might be something completely different for you - nothing to do with swimming - that'll get you... get you out of here, if that's what you want.

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Brother Campbell: Oh, Harold, uh, Father Dillon is hearing confession right after mass.

Harold Fingleton: Is he? That's nice.

Brother Campbell: Probably been awhile?

Harold Fingleton: I'll pop along next week.

Brother Campbell: Since you're here, and since your boys will be coming here...

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Harold Fingleton: [on his way to confession] Hot in here, isn't it?

Dora Fingleton: Not for us Protestants.

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Dora Fingleton: I'll wait till you kids are all grown up and don't need me.

Tony Fingleton: Which will be never.

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Tony Fingleton: [struggling to connect with his dad prior to leaving Australia for Harvard College in the United States] Do you remember the first time you took me to the pool, Dad? Put me in the water?

[Harold shakes his head]

Tony Fingleton: I do. At the old Spring Hill Baths. I remember being terrified of drowning. You had me there and then you just... you just... let me go.

Harold Fingleton: Oh. I remember that.

Tony Fingleton: Yeah. But I didn't go under. I floated. And then, uh... and then I swam away from you, and... I swam away across to the other side maybe, but...

Tony Fingleton: [suddenly embarrassed at how directly this childhood story connects to his current actions] I should go. I've got things to do.

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