A family replacement chick flick involving a university philosophy professor and a barber who is a single mom. The primary plot revolves around the supposition that the emotional trauma of learning to swim can provide psychological therapy when dealing with past traumatic experiences. The professor lost his family when he was unable to save his drowning son due to aquaphobia. Five years later, he has decided to learn to swim. There are four leading characters: the aforementioned as well as a lady swimming instructor (for whom swimming therapy does not work) and the professor's former wife. This is basically a one-trick-pony movie, a problem the Director never overcomes. The swimming-pool scenes rapidly become repetitious and boring (there are a number of attempted diversions using unrelated scenes and subplots) with superficial and strained acting (but not for the comic relief of the pool "Greek chorus"!). It is difficult to relate to the roles of the principal players who also seem to lack sufficient inter-character chemistry. Keeping the leading actresses straight is challenging: they are sometimes made up to look alike plus the random use of jump-cut flash backs adds to identity confusion. The script seems wobbly and contrived more often than not (the Director also wrote the lines). Future events are clearly telegraphed leaving not much in the way of surprises to hold the audience's attention. There is some smoking and the obligatory happy ending. Cinematography (including underwater shots), lighting, and sound are fine. CGI special effects range from the cheesy to the impressive. Subtitles are a bit busy. Most signs and other text are not translated (including one critical poster for swimming instruction!). Closing credits song is generic. Not especially recommended. Viewed at a JICC J-film streaming event. WILLIAM FLANIGAN.
Yes, I Can't Swim (2022)
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