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I didn't see the previous film, but I don't think it's required.
There are a lot of things to like about this movie. It's a Canadian film, but it's neither Canadian-content filler, nor is it an art film. It's just trying to be an average feel-good family film.
I like that the film is proudly Canadian, not hiding the fact that it takes place in Quebec, instead of some generic US city. I also enjoyed that the US team was not portrayed as heroic and lovable, because we get enough of that from US film. It's fun to see them get the same treatment they usually give Germans and Russians, in film. Of course, they probably won't see it that way...
I had trouble believing that these characters are competitive swimmers. They just don't look the part. And I don't believe they would behave as these folks did.
Also, the English subtitles by Secord had a few rough patches, with phrases that English speakers just wouldn't say.
But the film mostly has two serious flaws: First, the characters we are most interested in are young adults. But the movie treats them (and everyone else) like they are little kids. I felt like I was watching an after-school movie. (Maybe I was?) These characters are beyond the point where earnest cuteness is a good idea. They need to be treated with the respect you'd treat an adult, and they deserve adult story lines.
Second, at nearly two hours, the film is about 40 minutes too long. Lots of shots of swimmers stretching out their arms and shoulders, for example. There are a lot of subplots that simply didn't need to be there, as well. Focus on what matters.
Anyhow, I do thank this team for doing many things right. I hope to see more from them.
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