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  • ON A CLEAR DAY is a wee Scottish film that is full to overflowing with heart and fine performances. Writer Alex Rose and Director Gaby Dellal have managed to explore the psyches of the ordinary folk who face the crises of unemployment, of strained family relations and the fear of loss of pride in one's self and have created not only a sympathetic story with a message, but have also delivered their story with humor and a glint of the eye that makes the whole thing work - very well indeed.

    Frank (Peter Mullen) watches as the last ship he will ever have worked on is launched as his wife Joan (Brenda Blethyn) and his son Rob (Jamie Sives), daughter in law Angela (Johdi May), and grandson twins celebrate the launching. We soon learn that Frank is now jobless, that there is friction with his son Rob (who had been a twin but the other twin died at age 7) who doesn't have a traditional job but instead is a stay at home Dad. Money is tight and Joan secretly is training to be a bus driver. Franks cronies Eddie (Sean McGinley), Danny (Billy Boyd), and Norman (Ron Cook) see Frank slipping into depression. Frank spends his time swimming at the public swimming pool and while there he sees three young physically challenged boys trying and by will power succeeding to swim. Frank decides he needs to prove himself to his friends, family and himself and decides to swim the English Channel. He enlists his buddy Chan (Benedict Wong) and eventually his cronies and they prepare for the challenging swim. The manner in which this drive influences his marriage, his relationship with his son and his perception of himself is the driver for the very tender ending.

    The cast is first class all the way, acting with that inimitable UK fashion of finding reality in the simplest of characters. The story is a joy to watch for its understated manner and for the glowing theme of the film. Recommended for all audiences. Grady Harp, July 06
  • This movie has strengths and weaknesses. Some of the strengths are its attempt to tell a 'real' story, without recourse to shtick, cliché, or pop-star trickery so common on TV and in movies these days. It seems obvious that the writer and director had visions of something deep, meaningful, as well as entertaining. Another strength is the reliance on the humans, and their real-world behaviors, fears, and hopes (etc.) for the 'current' flow of the movie. The camera lingers, the dialogue is written to enlighten us about the emotions (pleasant as well as despairing) of the characters. It may be said this is a character driven movie, perhaps? And, all of the cast do a commendable job of providing us with the characters' humanity and depth.

    Some of the weaknesses, however, are how all of the individual components of the writer and director's vision are executed. Many of the threads of the story simply go nowhere--- not that we necessarily need a big plot-ish conclusion to everything. But we do need some sense, anyway, of what various expositions mean. Sure, we could accept a bit of non-convention, and even artiness, but some of the elements of this story never were stitched together with any other parts of the movie. Worse, those orphaned parts were never really stitched up as themselves--- i.e., they never really completed themselves, nor made any real sense in and of themselves. Without discussing plot details, let me breezily mention the parts with Chan, the Chinese chippy guy, for example. These had neither a start, nor a finish--- we simply saw one brief middle, as it were.

    Overall, this is a pleasant movie--- but it isn't a great one. I looked up the director and the writer online, and didn't find much. If they are young, or young-ish, this effort might bode well. That is, this movie resembled a good student-like product from young and promising film makers. Young, in their careers anyway, regardless of their actual calendar year age, but very talented. People to watch in the future.

    'On A Clear Day' made me think of quilt makers. Imagine a master-to-be quilt maker; a quilt making artist whose work will be celebrated in the UK and America, and featured on PBS and BBC documentaries and featured in museums, etc. And then imagine this future master's last 'student' project, when she was 17 years old or so, before the magic clicked and she got great. This student work shows genius and promise, both undelivered as of now. That's what 'Clear Day' is like--- a quilt whose individual pieces are great, showing bright and future success, but not put together very well, showing immaturity and a student just beginning to blossom. Oh, the cast was great, and they obviously did everything they were asked to do, and they did it very well. The ill-fitting chunks weren't their fault--- they were just an artifact of the awkward and 'green' directorial efforts.

    Go see it anyway--- support the growth of these folks! I gave this an encouraging 8 out of 10.
  • I saw this movie at Sundance, and it was brilliant. Beautiful shots, wonderful acting and such a moving story! It made me cry, it made me laugh (with Billy Boyd as much of the comic relief!), it made me want to see it again! Gaby Dellal's direction was spot on, and the emotions from each of the characters was so true, that I wanted to cheer Frank (Peter Mullen) on while swimming the English Channel and console him when he felt like he couldn't do anything.

    The only thing that I had an "issue" with, was that at a few moments, the Scottish accent was so thick that I missed what was said. :P Oops!!! Otherwise, I hope this gets picked up and distributed, and I will DEFINITELY buy the DVD.
  • I had the opportunity to see "On a Clear Day" last night, Jan. 21, 2004 at Abravanel Hall as part of the opening of the Sundance Film Festival. Robert Redford introduced Gaby Dellal, a first-time director. She spoke about the film and creating it and then introduced the screenplay writer, some of the crew and the cast. They were nicely received by everyone - especially Billy Boyd.

    The film itself is fairly good, a bit uneven, slow in the beginning. Much of that may be because the sound system was a little "echoey" and I'm not up on my Scottish / northern English dialects. After the first 45 minutes or so, once I could figure out who everyone was and what their issues were, the film really took off for me. I loved the last half, the resolutions and the cementing of friendships.

    I've already decided to rent it when it comes out on DVD so that I can watch it with closed captions now that I have an idea of the plot line. I would recommend this to those who love a good story, this is not an action/adventure! I would imagine those who live in the areas shown in the film will especially love it. Peter Mulan was fabulous, but I loved and related to Brenda Blethan from the opening scene. Billy was the same happy-go-lucky type of character he played as Pippin in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy, and was the humorous leavening that helped make the film enjoyable. The story was one many will easily relate to.

    Independent Films are often ignored, and I would encourage you to support the efforts films like this one represents. It's often an important resource and insight into our communities and cultures that the world needs. Try them, you will enjoy them!
  • I just saw this movie a few hours ago. I'm a university student in Utah and went up to the Sundance Film Festival in Park City. My friends and I thought that On a Clear Day sounded good so we stood in line and got in. It was a great movie. Peter Mullan captures his character (Frank) perfectly. He leaves you cheering for the underdog and hoping for the impossible. Billy Boyd is, as usual, hilarious and very believable in his role as Frank's friend and former co-worker. Gabby Dellal's direction was very impressive. Her use of angles gave the audience a clear perception and her use of time and flashbacks was also brilliantly used. Overall, the film was well worth the ten bucks, hour drive and long line. Plus, it's Sundance, how can you go wrong? I hope it does well at the Festival and also hope that many more people will have the opportunity to see it.
  • ArizWldcat24 January 2005
    I saw this at Sundance Sunday night (which was 3 days after opening night), and unfortunately none of the actors or the director could make it. That was disappointing, but nevertheless, the film was an enjoyable story of relationships being mended and of people adding meaning to their lives when they go through trials. I enjoyed the performances of all of the lead actors (and the supporting actors), particularly Brenda Blethyn. Perhaps it was because I saw this is a smaller multi-plex type theater (instead of Abravanel) that I didn't have any trouble understanding the dialog at all, and found the script to be well written and witty. Although everything ends up a little too neat in the end, this was still a drama that pulls the audience in and makes you care what happens to all involved. I am glad I had the opportunity to see it, regardless of whether the filmmakers showed up for the Q&A :)
  • I saw this on opening night of the 2005 Sundance Film Festival and like everyone else who has commented so far this is a top notch movie especially in the sad bastard world of Independent film-making (not that there is anything wrong with that). The movie is about a hard working Scot metal worker named Frank who gets laid off of his job and struggles to find what to do next, he happens to be an avid swimmer and after some soul searching sets a goal on swimming the English channel. He and his crew which includes the very funny Billy Boyd (Pippin from LOTR)set out on training everyday to make the swim. The end ties up some emotional demons for Frank and is an uplifting finish to a very enjoyable movie. I believe had this been at the theater or TV I would have still enjoyed this movie even outside the confines of an Indie film festival that tends to make positive movies feel like the pot at the end of the rainbow. What a great cast, Peter Mullen is outstanding in the lead and equally is Brenda Blythen as his wife. I took to a liking of Benedict Wong who played the owner of a Chinese take out that turns into Franks head coach. Beware that the first 20 minutes of movie might seem a bit hard to follow due to some heavy ascents for us Americans but after you adjust a bit this movie will be worth the price of a ticket
  • I must say...."On A Clear Day" was one of the best movies I've seen in quite some time. Peter Mullan gave an awe-inspiring performance, while the supporting cast only helped more. It is a very touching story, and I would recommend it to anyone and everyone who has ever confronted a tough trial in their life. The script is so real, the characters easy to relate to, and a light comedic touch that keeps you laughing and crying.

    I was fortunate enough to see "On A Clear Day" at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on Sunday the 23rd of January. After the film, the director and several members of the cast came onto the stage for a little Q&A. I was delighted to discover how down to earth Peter Mullan (Braveheart's "We will run...and we'll live."), Billy Boyd (our beloved Hobbit, Pippin), Brenda Blethyn and Benedict Wong are. They were even nice enough to stay after, sign autographs and chat with the fans.

    If you love heart-warming stories, relatable characters, and a good laugh, "On A Clear Day" will certainly come through.
  • "On a Clear Day" is another of a familiar genre of the plucky bloke who is retired (like "The World's Fastest Indian") and/or unemployed (like "The Full Monty") and/or grieving (like the "Rocket Man" mini-series shown in the U.S. on BBC America) and finds self-esteem by achieving an impossible-seeming, galvanizing goal.

    Alex Rose's debut script tries hard in an over-long effort to find conflict, personal growth and resolution as inspired by a true story of a laid-off dock worker who decides to swim the English Channel, but it is ultimately not as moving as the best of these can be (David Lynch's atypical "The Straight Story").

    The film does find a fresh angle in an exploration of masculinity, as Peter Mullan's typical working class guy, who of course takes an opportunity to tell off his boss, is contrasted with his son the house husband (nice to see ruggedly handsome, earnest Sean McGinley who I mostly know from TV series) with a too bland wife but with adorable twin sons. While it was also amusing that this is the second movie I've seen this year where a Scotsman is inexplicably held up as an example of the New Man, as in "Take My Eyes (Te doy mis ojos)", their estrangement seems trumped up over a not very big secret and too drawn out, as is everything in the film, and could just as well be about the difficulties of male-to-male communication, as it finally resolves in a lesson learned for both. There is a lovely small scene with Mullan watching a class of handicapped kids at a swim lesson, but unfortunately that's used for inspiration and not second career options.

    The impacts his efforts have on his wife and the usual assortment of eccentric friends to be inspired to take parallel steps toward conquering their very personal fears are a heartwarming, if very predictable, side story, and I would have welcomed more of their lives and half-hour less of Mullan's comic training travails (though the funniest lines were already in the trailer). Brenda Blethyn in particular is wonderful as a mature, independently determined wife with a dream to become a bus driver, the opposite of her fluttery "Mrs. Bennett" in "Pride & Prejudice".

    The cinematography makes great use of the Glasgow street scenes in sharp visual contrast with the white cliffs of Dover and the bluest Channel water I've ever seen in a British film.
  • I also had the opportunity to see "On a Clear Day" at the world premiere on Friday night and thoroughly enjoyed it. I really hope that this film gets picked up because its main themes would probably be well received by mass audiences.

    There was humor, family conflict, drama, and some great Scottish dialogue (some of which I do need to hear again in order to get ALL of the jokes.) It was just a great experience to be able to watch the film on location with all of the people who worked so hard to make it happen.

    On a side note, my friends and I were able to meet Elijah Wood(even though he was not in the movie, he came to support Billy) and Billy afterwards. Being a hard-core Lord of the Rings fan, the experience was great. Please go and see it if you can!!
  • stormy_gail28 March 2008
    i was so impressed by this movie and decided to watch it several times. i really loved billy Boyd's character of Danny, he was able to bring a sense of humor into this movie, all the characters were unforgettable and the story itself was very inspiring and touching..this movie was a delight to watch and you pulling for for the main character to cross the channel..i loved that the wife kept trying to pass her test to drive the bus, showing her strength as well. one of my favorite scenes was when Danny thought he could drive the boat, he handled the whole thing extremely well..i hope to see more of these kind of movies in future..they are family oriented and i love that, more of the human feelings without any of the filth so evident in most movies today thank you for a well done movie and the inspiration it was to me.
  • Unless one has experienced the bone chilling cold of Scotland's waterways, around 40 degrees Fahrenheit even in summer) the rigorous training of the aspiring Channel swimmer in this film cannot be appreciated. Scotland is a beautiful land filled with warm hearted people, but it is always COLD and very, very windy. Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the story, and the characterizations of the very real Glaswegians. As I watched this on HBO I was able to follow the subtitles, but having lived in Scotland, the accent was music to my ears.

    The man who had spent 36 years in the shipyards, expecting to retire there, is suddenly confronted with the unthinkable - unemployment. Not only is he robbed of his self esteem, he no longer a breadwinner, but he has a lot of time to think and not necessarily of things that he wants to remember. His job had been his life - all he had to do was show up for work every day. He and his wife had settled into a cordial routine where they lived together in a marriage that had long since become a habit. They no longer had any real communication. She does not tell him that she is learning to drive a double decker bus (in high heals no less) and he doesn't tell her that he is planning to swim the channel "what channel?" Thanks to the social security system and National Health Service, being laid off from one's job in Britain does not the potential for financial disaster that it has in the US, but it is still an unpleasant experience to find oneself discarded in mid-life, hence the need to "do" something memorable.

    The performances all round are excellent, especially Benjamin Wong who was right on target as the Chinese chippy who no one realized could speak English. When he did, it was with a Glasgow accent. Each man starts to build up his own self-esteem and stand up for himself.
  • Gaby Dellal's impressive directorial debut 'On a Clear Day' is a simple little movie that tells the story of Frank and his relationship with his wife, son and friends. After getting sacked from his job, he falls into depression. The fact that he couldn't yet come to terms with the death of his son, his fragile relationship with his other son Rob, his wife secretly applying for a job as a bus driver doesn't do much to cheer him up. The only thing where he seeks comfort is in swimming. He then decides to swim the English Channel. Initially, his friends are reluctant. He hides the news from his son and wife. However, things take a slightly unexpected turn.

    The movie has been made on a modestly small budget, yet it makes good use of its tools. Dellal uses a very greenish tone to set the mood. Cinematography is great. Music is impressively put to minimum use. The screenplay cleverly balances both drama and comedy.

    Performances are a standout. Peter Mullan is brilliant as the stubborn Frank. He delivers a subtle and studied performance. Brenda Blethyn is amazing as Joan (who is the complete opposite of Blethyn's character from 'Little Voice'). She keeps reminding the viewer of her incredible versatility. Jamie Sives is effectively restrained. Billy Boyd provides enough comic relief to lighten up moments that could otherwise have been 'too serious'. Sean McGinley, Ron Cook and Benedict Wong are all superb.

    An enjoyable and remarkable little film it is, the common viewer will be able to relate to the characters and situations. 'On a Clear Day' is not trying to be anything loud or larger than life. It's more of a slice of life, a modest and honest little film.
  • Divamo689 September 2005
    First the positives - the acting is fantastic. Wonderful ensemble work, very talented bunch who are a joy to watch work together. Peter Mullan is outstanding. The problem with this story is that it isn't sure what story it wants to tell. Without ruining it, it wanders quiet a bit. There is also some sloppy editing which confuses. There are subplots introduced which just vanish at strange moments in the script. The beginning is full of promise, but it very quickly becomes several films you've seen many times before: forced sentimentality, clichéd and predictable. Not a bad movie, some beautiful shots, but I fail to see what all the fuss was about at Sundance.
  • This movie, On a Clear Day, was the movie that my mother has been working on for two years. Her name is Dorothy Berwin and she is the producer of this fable. I have met all the characters and have enjoyed learning about how actors get into their characters. Frank does an especially good job at creating a realistic setting. This movie shows that anything is possible and I believe that it is not only the story of swimming the channel, but of relationships within the family. Overall, I have come to the conclusion that you stick with your own problems, and that this movie is a role model for all family situations. Next, I would like to say that this might not be the most commercial movie, but think about it this way; if we always had the same types of movies, none of our views would change and people would not make their own conclusions based on the story, as a result people would not filter the story and break it down so that they can make personal connections, to me that is the point of movies.
  • I was a supporting actor for this film - an 'extra'. The company was excellent. Not only am I looking forward to - definitely buying the DVD - I will be on the lookout for any movie shot by this team. I think it was the 2AD or 3AD in particular who took the trouble to learn everybody's first name ( a rarity in the UK) and remember them all - first time (well almost!). A small point but in keeping with the thorough professionalism throughout the whole team. I have not seen the finished product yet but I can have no doubts about the outcome - just from the excellence of the director, the amazing cast and the crew's first class work rate. I write all of this because my experiences with other production companies are not like this - not unsurprisingly the leads are given the most attention - but it takes all types to make a world - and this production company although all young, know it and deserve every success in the future. See the film - you will agree with me.
  • andrew-119223 August 2007
    I have just watched this film, not quite knowing what to expect. I have to say, I was very impressed. Clearly this was a low budget film, but in my view that simply adds to its charm. Film directors have to start with small productions and move up the food chain from there.

    The latter comment might appear to be a swipe at the quality of the film, however it really shouldn't be inferred that way. I think the production crew did a great job of telling a potential real life situation.

    In watching this I was reminded of the film 'The Full Monty' which had a broadly similar background - little guys get made redundant, no hope of rebuilding careers, life without hope, yet they pull themselves out of a traumatic situation thru sheer determination. In this case it is one guy rather than several.

    I enjoyed this film a lot and won't have a problem watching it again in due course.
  • wrlang4 September 2006
    On a Clear Day is a dry, but heart warming tale of a single minded man getting on in years who wants to prove his worth to himself and his family, but isn't quite sure how. Frank was let go from his job in the shipyards because he wouldn't bow to the new blood coming in who felt he was old and outdated. He holds his ground, but finds that retirement leaves him only time to mourn the past. He sets his sights on swimming the English Channel and during that training begins to make up for being too busy for life. This is not a fast moving film, but is rich with great emotional acting that draws you into the lives of the people affected. Frank allows everyone to win and finds that the rules he grew up with aren't always the most important things.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The teak-faced Peter Mullan is a foreman at a ship-building factory in Scotland. A magnificent ship slides down the ways and Mullan has been rendered "redundant." His buddies -- Mad Bob, Merve the Perv, and the rest -- are sympathetic but life goes on. Mullan's wife, the matronly Brenda Blethyn, tries for the third time to pass the test and get a job as a bus driver. Things look pretty bleak. But then Mullan, by now steeped in a voiceless despair, looks into the sea and has an epiphany. So he swims the English channel.

    This is a low-key story for grown-ups. Nobody's head gets wrenched off. The ending is a bit much in some ways but at least nobody bursts into sobs and there is no triumphant music on the sound track. Nope. The movie is as flinty as the people inhabiting it.

    There is a kind of sub-theme, something between Mullan and his son Bob. They don't get along because of some childhood contretemps. That's straightened out in the end too.

    I enjoyed it. Mullan is an ordinary middle-aged guy with a bit of flab and a lot of determination. He's so proud that he keeps his plan to swim the channel even from his wife, if not from his partners in crime. I didn't understand why, except that it provides an opportunity for the introduction of some humor ("I think he's having an affair") and a little tension ("Why wouldn't you even tell me -- your own wife?") to keep the story from dragging.

    Speaking of humor, there are amusing incidents and characters who are unwittingly funny. Well -- one example. To be entered officially into the Guiness book of world records, Mullan needs to be accompanied in his swim by a boat, which he is not allowed to touch. But Mullan and his pals don't HAVE a boat. But they get a tip. Mad Bob has a boat he could lend them but Mullan has to arm wrestle Bob to win the favor.

    So the two men -- Mullan and Mad Bob -- strip off their jackets, clear the table in the pub, place their elbows, clasp hands, and stare at each other, waiting for the "Go" signal. Everyone expects a Herculean struggle, just like the ones they've seen in every other movie with an arm wrestling contest. Instead -- Wham! -- and Mullan instantly flattens Bob's hand. Bob cheerfully agrees to lend them his boat.

    I won't go on about this except to say that the cinematography is splendid without in any way being splashy, so to speak. See it. Everybody needs to smile now and then.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    "On a Clear Day" is a film that really disappointed me mainly because the movie waits until the end to be an actually good movie. The movie tells the story of a middle aged Irishman named Frank (played by Peter Mullan) who is a professional shipbuilder who is going through a tough time with his family mainly with his son Rob (played by Jamie Synes) who are having an estranged relationship with one another. And his wife (played by Brenda Blethyn)and friends Ed (played by Sean McGinley), Chan (played by Benedict Wong), Norman (played by Ron Cook), and his other son Danny (played by Billy Boyd). As I mentioned in the first sentence of this review that the movie takes until the ending of the film to actually look good, mainly because of the screenplay by the at the time inexperienced screenwriter for the first time Alex Rose who I know for a fact didn't revise upon his work for the film, though the director to the film Gaby Dellal is to take part of the blame as well. Now later in the film Frank is going to his local swimming pool to train because he is so determined to swim the English channel and after a few weeks goes for it and acts like a crybaby when he is almost done swimming the English channel until he snaps out of it and keeps going until he reaches the shore. The movie is a mediocre type of movie though it is nothing compared to sports movies like Remember the Titans (2000), Raging Bull (1980), Rocky (1976), Cinderella Man (2005), Million Dollar Baby (2004), or even The Pride of the Yankees (1942). The film itself is just not as bad as other terrible movies that I have seen recently or in the past few years.
  • On a Clear Day is directed by Gaby Dellal and written by Alex Rose. It stars Peter Mullan, Brenda Blethyn, Jamie Sives, Benedict Wong, Billy Boyd, Sean McGinley, Ron Cook and Jodhi May. Music is scored by Stephen Warbeck and photography by David Johnson. Locations used for the shoot were Glasgow, Isle of Man and Dover.

    Emotionally shot after being made redundant from his employment at the ship yard, Frank (Mullan) searches desperately for some semblance of hope in his life. Then one day he finds a challenge, a test of endurance to maybe exorcise the demons that haunt his family: Frank aims to swim the English Channel.

    Following in the wake of great British comedy/dramas such as Billy Elliot, The Full Monty and Brassed Off, On a Clear Day is a perky, yet tender, human interest story. Story may follow a familiar course as regards a protagonist striving against odds for some sort of meaning, redemption, but it's how this particular protagonists actions affect those around him that opens this up as a more fulfilling story. Frank, his wife Joan (Blethyn) and son Rob (Sives) have had a terrible event in their lives, thus the relationship between father and son is desperately strained. Into the mix comes Frank's recent unemployment and the family is in danger of complete implosion, especially Frank who is extremely low on self esteem.

    Then there are the friends in Frank's life, Eddie (McGinley), Danny (Boyd) and Norman (Cook), and a potential friendship in the making with Chinese Take Away owner Chan (Wong). All men low on confidence, all about to become involved in Frank's goal, his attempt to swim the channel becoming a beacon of hope for all of them. It's this collective feeling of the underdog against life's troubles that gives the film its heart beat; if the film is a heart warmer? Then you will have to watch to find out. It's also very funny, even if much of the comedy is very "laddish", with character names such as Merv the Perv and Mad Bob, it's evident that some of the humour is colourful. While it should be noted that the Scottish accents are likely to be a problem for non residents of the UK and Ireland.

    Smoothly directed by Dellal and impeccably acted by the cast, this is very much a winner across the board. A film fit to sit alongside those British films mentioned earlier. 8/10
  • Drama / Comedy + inspirational sports done well, you cannot beat it. And On A Clear Day is done very well indeed: a very good tale about redundancy and new hope in Scotland told with a glint in the eye and a spring in the step.

    It also follows along in Brassed Off and Full Monty's line: it is about how we find dignity (And the only two missed opportunities for me in the film were not to use Wyatt's brilliant Shipbuilding and Deacon Blue's Dignity as soundtrack songs).

    When Frank (Peter Mullan is typical acerbic form) is made redundant he falls to pieces. His mates are there but nothing is clicking. He sets himself an impossible task: to swim the English Channel - he has his personal reasons (Which give the film a deeper edge).

    But film isn't just about technique or script or even acting: it's as much about the overall effect and this scores very big in this respect.

    This is a film with huge heart and it is nearly impossible not to be moved or inspired by it.

    There may be better films out there, but seriously, there weren't many others from 2005 that we simply loved this much.
  • An endearing everyman movie with a UK setting. Frank, a traditionalist, would rather leave than kowtow to the new management. After 36 years of work he is at odds what to do with himself. He can't communicate his emotions to his wife, he barely expresses his feelings to his chums, and he struggles with his relationship with his son. Woven through this is the 23 year old tragedy of losing his other son to a drowning, which has haunted him all these years. Frank finds a way to redeem his self-esteem and that is to swim the English Channel. The movie weaves this main plot in with several sub-plots and it all works well. Indie movies are brave enough to portray real characters with plausible dialog. A tremendously capable cast with the talents of Billy Boyd (Pippin) as the comic relief, and Brenda Blethyn (Pride and Prejudice) as the stalwart wife, plus the wide array of minor characters, blend to create a thoroughly enjoyable family movie. Some of the lines with Billy Boyd are laugh out loud hilarious.
  • I watched this on a day off work sick knowing nothing previously about the film, and I was more than pleasantly surprised. This a high quality independent movie. The director whom I knew nothing of any previous or subsequent work holds this film together remarkably.This heart warming tale born out of the grit of the death of the British working man is areal winner. A great British cast lead by the always superbPeterMullan brings real depth to the characters where even the minor characters are given arc's where they are allowed to flourish. Thefilches a main plot of a man struggling to bring meaning to his life after loosing his life long job and dealing with the latent emotions of his dead son, as well as many nice sub plots. If you like small films with a good story and great acting then this is for you.
  • This was a fantastic film from start to finish. I was a little sceptical about this film when I first read the byline but once I started to watch it I was enthralled to the very end. A film very much in the vein of The Full Month only with less stripping, less swearing and a slightly better storyline. You actually feel Franks pain as he swims the channel and you find yourself willing him on with every breath. A must see and definitely a 10 out of 10. The music fits the film well but is not too overbearing as seems the norm now in so many 'hollywood blockbusters'. The views of Scotland, the choice of locations, the supporting actors, the old pool where Frank practices all add to the enjoyment. So also does his relationship with Chan from the chippie who no one seems to know talks apart from the two words 'fish' and 'chips'. Watch out for the child with what I assume is Cerebral Palsy as he battles his own inner demon as he swims two widths of the pool, a stirring performance and one that deserves credit. The final locations of the cliffs somewhere near Dover, the boat in the channel and the beach in France bring a fantastic end to a fantastic film.
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