21 user 32 critic

The Song of Sway Lake (2018)

2:08 | Trailer
Music collector Ollie Sway recruits his only friend, a rowdy Russian drifter, to help him steal a 78 record from his own family's estate.


Ari Gold
3 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »





Credited cast:
Rory Culkin ... Ollie
Robert Sheehan ... Nikolai
Isabelle McNally ... Isadora
Mary Beth Peil ... Charlie Sway
Elizabeth Peña ... Marlena
Jack Falahee ... Jimmy
Brian Dennehy ... Hal Sway
Anna Shields ... Heather
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Gary Arzberger Gary Arzberger ... Volunteer Fireman
John W. Bard John W. Bard ... Biker Man
Jason Brill Jason Brill ... Timmy Sway
Bob Foley Bob Foley ... John Durant
Robert Forgett Robert Forgett ... Angry Man
John Grant John Grant ... Tweed McKay
Kasey Kenyon Kasey Kenyon ... Ray


Music collector Ollie Sway recruits his only friend, a rowdy Russian drifter, to help him steal a 78 record from his own family's estate.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Music | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, graphic nudity and some sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


Final film for Elizabeth Peña. See more »


Tristesse L'Ombre's Enfuit
Written by Frédéric Chopin
Performed by Tino Rossi
Courtesy of Parlophone Records France
By arrangement with Rhino Entertainment Company (A Warner Music Group Company)
See more »

User Reviews

Song of Sway Lake - A Shimmering Nod to Reminiscence
21 December 2017 | by randeemiaSee all my reviews

Sway Lake and summer go together like sun and hammocks .. or martinis and olives. Ari Gold's The Song of Sway Lake was actually released on June 21, the first day of summer! Location? A swanky lake house in the Adirondacks -- a dazzling paradise for swell-egant parties of the New York jazz-age upper crust.

Sway. It's not a common word but it conjures up sensual images of hips, dancing, bourbon and Gershwin. It could mean swing, undulate, guide, persuade. From the opening, rather erotic, underwater scene, The Song of Sway Lake blends the dreamy and the realistic, the mystical and the practical, blurring the lines between the ephemeral and the concrete, the past and the now. The first plunge into the lake is both a dip into misty memory and a crisp splash to erase it.

The cinematic period piece makes the viewer feel as if he/she is floating back in time...hearing the silver tones of Ethan Gold's mesmerizing melody, crooned by both John Grant and the Staves (Andrews Sisters reincarnated) is almost like being drawn in by the Sirens -- only we're not in Ancient Greece. We're not even in the 1940's. We're back in the 1990's...but completely sweetened by reminiscence.

In fact, reminiscence permeates the film, from plot to soundtrack. From the opening montage, one feels the pull (dare I say sway) of a time gone by, hovering in a '40's haze. Ethan's music is as haunting as the film - it's a blend of misty and crisp. Cole Porter or Ethan Gold ? The soundtrack title song wafts through the film with charcoal smokiness. I truly can't get the Song of Sway Lake melody out of my head -- nor do I want to. It's totally addictive and liquid like the lake, yet solid like a long-lasting sliver of art, rock or humanity.

As I see it, there are two types of people: those who are nostalgic and those who aren't. Proust nailed it with his Madeleine moment. With Song of Sway Lake, filmmaker Ari gold and twin brother, composer Ethan Gold appear to be members of the former club. A maestro of cinema, Ari paints the screen with wide, elegant brushstrokes of memory, sprinkled with speckles of here-and-now.

Plot? Jazz music collector Ollie Sway (the soul-searching, fiery Rory Culkin), grandson of Charlie (divinely timeless, elegant Mary Beth Peil), the owner of the magical house on Sway Lake, is on a mission to find a valuable record -- the only pressed 78 recording of her wedding song. He enlists his rough-around-the-edges Russian drifter friend (charming Robert Sheehan) to help steal the record from his wealthy grandmother 's estate. There's even a rather enchanting if offbeat, romantic seesaw sway between Charlie and her grandson's comrade. Theme? The tug between grasping tidbits of our past, archiving our detailed lives vs. letting go, living in the present. Style? Eric Rohmer meets Wes Anderson.

The Brazilians think that melancholy and bliss are connected. Perhaps the Gold brothers are part Brazilian --the translucent lake scintillates with the fragility of life and the permanence of death -- the fascination with murkiness and fear of finality.

Ultimately, Song of Sway Lake glistens. Like our lives, it is layered with dissonance and harmony, raw in texture. It is both evocative and haunting.

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Release Date:

21 June 2017 (USA) See more »

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The Song of Sway Lake See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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