Against the Current (2009) Poster

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A warm film that premiered at Sundance
nhpbob24 February 2009
This under-the-radar film about a guy who swims a good length of the Hudson River in NY State down to NYC, is one of those warm indie films that deftly balances drama with some humor. No surprise that it snagged actors like Joseph Fiennes, Elizabeth Reaser (adding another fine performance to her growing career since her debut in the great "SWEET LAND"), Justin Kirk, Michelle Trachtenberg, and Mary Tyler Moore in a notable supporting role.

The reason behind his swim I won't divulge here, but it makes for some powerful moments. As he swims, his 2 friends go along with him in a guide boat, and they come to shore for breaks, which leads to some great moments in the film. It's not all on the water. But when it is, it's riveting. As a viewer, I felt like I was swimming right there with him at times.

And the swimming scenes show off the wonderful Hudson Valley, and Joseph Fiennes looks like he really...um...took the plunge. That's really him in the water. Kudos to the filmmakers who must've been on the river an awful lot. (And to the camera people!) Hopefully this film finds its audience in other film festivals and in a future release.
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10/10
Warm thoughtful film
kam631810 April 2009
I had the chance to see this at AFI festival in Dallas. The movie is beautifully shot, and some of the scenes along the Hudson are gorgeous. The story line is intriguing, and unfolds as the swimmer makes his way through the challenge of swimming the Hudson. As the first reviewer said, he has a tragic story that compels him to take on this feat. I won't divulge the details, but as his story comes out, it makes you think hard about some of life's issues. Definitely worth seeing.

The dialog is also well-written. Although this is not a comedy, the dialog is often quite funny. Fiennes may have gorgeous eyes, but I thought Justin Kirk's character really stood out in the film.
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10/10
Stunning...
G K25 May 2010
This movie took my breath away. I LOVE Justin Kirk, that guy is amazing and he did not disappoint. I won't give away any spoilers but the story completely pulls you in and you can't wait to see what happens next.

I don't know that I loved the sideline with Mary Tyler Moore. I can see its value but I just wanted to see more of the three core characters. I also think they could've done more with the storyline with Justin Kirk's character and the difficulty with his wife.

This film is gorgeous to watch but will also stay with once the end credits are done rolling. Best to see it with someone so that you can discuss it afterwards!
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8/10
Great Movie
mellowinman16 June 2011
Very moving. Everything about this movie worked for me. Top-notch acting. Great dialogue. Fantastic cinematography. I don't get all the wannabe critics, ready to call out directors, using terms like "heavy handed," "pretentious," etc. This was a compelling story, and any departures from the main story were there to add humanity. Everyone involved should be very proud. They made a movie that was different, and worth our time. (mine, anyway) The ending left no doubt in my mind what happened. I didn't find any ambiguity whatsoever. I felt it was moving, and insightful. I think people need to open up to those films that are a little different. This is one such film.
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8/10
Great film
lectureral28 May 2010
Warning: Spoilers
It is so nice to see a thoughtful film made for adults. The performances of Joseph Fiennes, Justin Kirk and Elizabeth Reaser were all excellent - considered and lacking in histrionics. Fun to see cameos by Mary Tyler Moore and Michelle Trachtenberg.

Some people might find this slow-paced but it held my attention throughout. The scenery down the Hudson River was a revelation.

* * * SPOILERS AHEAD * * *

The subject matter of suicide was handled very well. The two issues of whether someone has the right to take their own life and the reality of the pain of emotional, as opposed to physical, damage to a person were treated deftly and with subtlety.

All in all this is a wry, adult film which will linger in the mind long after the titles cease rolling.
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8/10
Authentic
Mike B6 December 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This is a quiet film that grows on you. The three main characters are very real and their interaction grows on you. For me the dialogue was very authentic between the main actors and the subsidiary ones in the film – and at times quite humorous.

It's got a sensitive approach to a touchy subject which is suicide, but by no means does this permeate the entire film. The film is slow-paced and the emphasis is on character development and interplay. There are no high-powered revelation scenes but there is a humble intensity through-out.

The only one warning I have is that the ending lets you decide for yourself what will happen.
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9/10
A Quiet Movie
The movie recently was running on Showtime and got TiVo'd last night. Watched because I like both Justin Kirk and Joseph Fiennes. So I watched this lazy Saturday early morning and thoroughly enjoyed it. Just what a quiet morning needs. The scenery along the Hudson Valley is spectacular and I felt I was rolling along in the boat. I think Justin Kirk was just right (as usual) with his character, no over the top stuff. Mary Tyler Moore was a hoot and hopefully we can see more of her. The subject matter is a bit disconcerting but it kept me intrigued. Not only was the story and scenery compelling, the music captured my attention also. The movie was well done...., Just watch while you can let yourself be carried along slowly. I gave it a rating of "9" since it i liked watching it and when it was done, stayed with me emotionally. Does cause one to consider uncomfortable situations....morally and ethically. Enjoy.
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4/10
Great cinematography, but a disappointing Sundance Official Selection.
NYCFilmCritic4 March 2009
Warning: Spoilers
Attended a Q&A screening of Against The Current at Sundance, and I must say, the film left me in a bad mood.

Yes, I enjoyed the cinematography of the Hudson River Valley, and the water photography was impressive. However, the subject matter and dialogue were contrived and predictable. Joseph Fiennes and Elizabeth Reaser's performances were a disappointment, and I felt Mary Tyler-Moore's cameo was unnecessary and distracting.

Poor Justin Kirk; I've loved him in every project, but his talent was wasted here. His "funny guy" lines were so terrible, but his attempt to make them palatable is to be commended.

I've come to expect more from Sundance, so I had to shake my head when the lights came up. Granted, writer/director Peter Callahan made a valiant effort with Against The Current, but I would have rather seen a more substantial, creative, forward-thinking film from him.

Recommended as a rental, if at all.
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What? Are all people here the filmmaker's friends? This totally blew
mastershaman23 February 2011
Shame they got 3 mil to get this film made. No wonder this is the director's first film. I have no idea what the other reviewers are on! "Warm" "Authentic"? So many other films 5 times as good could have been made for that kind of money. Totally boring "woo-hoo, watch me I'm witty, indie, and I have actor friends in high places"! I couldn't watch this at all. Full of lengthy pretentious "so-called-smart/witty/ funny" dialog interspersed with the prerequisite Sundance indie feel piano track and indie alt-rock band interludes while I'm watching Joe Fiennes swim in the water. Exhilarating entertainment! NOT! Turned it off half-way through screaming in pain!
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10/10
depth and connection in life
scottfab25 July 2012
What a great movie. Look for it. Look for the symbolism. Mary Tyler Moore has a brief but significant role. Her comment when she sees the two coming out of the bedroom is priceless. Evaluate the human condition sadness can bring. Who wouldn't consider ending it all if facing the loss of your family. So many actually face this in real life. I hope to see these relatively unknown actors again.

The intrigue is great. The acting impeccable. What does life hold for any of us. Great entertainment. The intimate scenes are in good taste. The ending meaningful. It's a meaningful statement about society today.

See this movie. See it with your family.
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