User Reviews (22)

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  • slake099 August 2007
    This is an excellent film about the characters in a adult swimming class, their problems, relationships and interactions with each other. It should have managed a wider distribution as it's much better than similar films from major studios out at the same time.

    The swimming instructor is an almost-Olympian, reduced to teaching adults basic lessons, and often the target of horndogging from his female students. He attempts, more or less, to fend them off, with varying results.

    The students characters are mainstream U.S.A; teachers, policemen, college students and retired people, all of whom haven't learned to swim for some reason. The movie covers their relationships, including friends, relatives and romantic conquests as they go through the class. Several subplots provide amusing fodder, including a teacher going through a divorce, some high school students making a documentary, and a girl who is only in the class to meet guys.

    This is a good date movie, or just one to watch when you're in the mood for a romantic drama with overtones of reality.
  • I had the good fortune of screening this movie as part of the Tribeca Film Fest and it was an absolute pleasure. A great combination of comedy and drama, served up without any of the pretense that can be so inherit in first feature outings. This did not feel like a low-budget first feature.

    Big Bad Swim has a lot going for it: A polished but still still indie look and feel, a tremendous cast and strong performances. I found the story to be just the right balance of complex and accessible. It had characters that you can immediately relate to and more importantly care about.

    I highly recommend checking out this flick!
  • The big bad swim has a low budget, indie feel about it. So many times I start to watch independent films that have had really good reviews only to find out they are pretentious crud, voted for by people who are so blinded by the idea of the film and its potential to be provocative that they forget that film is a form of entertainment first and foremost.

    I do not know if The big bad swim has any message or higher meaning or metaphor, if it does then I missed it.

    From the get go BBS felt right, it was easy and warm and human, there were no major dramas or meaningful insights, I just connected with the characters straight off. And when, as with all good films the end came around I felt sadness at the loss of that connection.

    If you are looking for something big, or fast or insightful look elsewhere, look for a film trying to deliver more than it can. BBS delivers a solid, enjoyable, real experience and I felt rewarded and satiated having watched it.
  • rscotts21 December 2006
    I had the opportunity to see this film twice at the 2006 Moving Picture Festival In Birmingham, Alabama. I enjoyed it so much that I watched it a second time when they had an encore screening.

    When I think of the films that are shown at festivals, I usually expect them to be edgy and offbeat, often with the feel of an elaborate student project. There's nothing wrong with these types of projects of course, and I enjoy the unique styles of independent films, but sometimes I want to see a more mainstream approach to independent film-making. By "mainstream," I mean more like a film produced for national release - In other words, a movie that you would see in a regular movie theater.

    The writing, directing, cinematography, casting and acting in this movie are all totally pro. There is nothing typically independent about this film. As an aspiring director, I am always looking for movies that will motivate me to stop procrastinating and push harder to get my career going. This is one of those films. As I watched The Big Bad Swim, my motivation level was incredible. I felt like my adrenaline had kicked in. The reason I felt this way was because I was so impressed with every aspect of this production. I left the theater excited and ready to start writing that long put-off project. When a movie makes me feel like that, I know it's really good. This is the first feature-length project from Ishai Setton and I found myself wishing that It had been my project. For me, that's really rare.

    See this film. It's beautifully shot and directed, and the casting is excellent. Paget Brewster delivers a very believable and likable performance. She has a quality about her, a charisma, that really draws you in and keeps you focused on her any time she is on screen. She makes you feel like you know her personally as a friend. That's a gift. I think the industry is really missing out by not utilizing her acting abilities more often. Jeff Branson and Jess Weixler also did top-notch jobs. I can not say enough nice things about The Big Bad Swim. I look forward to future projects from all of those involved in its production.
  • I had the pleasure of screening "The Big Bad Swim" at the 2006 New London Film Festival last week. The festival highlights some of the best independent and non-mainstream films from the past year. It was my assumption that "The Big Bad Swim" was chosen for screening at this festival for the simple reason that it was shot locally in and around Eastern Connecticut. However, as the credits began to roll I could only think about how well "The Big Bad Swim" compared to the others featured during the festival. By far it topped my list, followed by "The Puffy Chair", "Who Killed The Electric Car" and "Transamerica".

    The "The Big Bad Swim" is an engaging, truthful and often-humorous look at several adult education swim class pupils and their likable yet troubled instructor that has a depth that I've not seen on screen in quite a while. The interweaving character development and plot lines derived from something as absurd as adult-swimming lessons works in subtle and endearing ways which I found refreshing. The plot doesn't beat you over the head with a direction; rather it builds and grows organically with a pace that was spot on. I was never bored. I never cringed. I never stepped out of the story on the screen.

    The humor of the film is something like "Napoleon Dynamite" meets "Old School". The acting from a group of relatively unknown actors was credible and their dialog never seemed awkward or contrived. Obviously not being a multi-million production the camera shot weren't all awe-inspiring and clear, but adequate and well done for the budget. The lighting and filming technique for scenes filmed in the strip club setting were particularly eye catching because of a more realistic approach than a similar themed scene found in "Closer". I also found shots filmed underwater of the class from the waist down seemed to be just as much a portrait of character as a shot from the shoulders up could be.

    I sure it's said over and over from many in the independent film industry, but I have to say it: If "The Big Bad Swim" isn't picked up for some kind of distribution I would extremely disappointed. "The Big Bad Swim" needs to be seen. If you have the chance to see this film, SEE IT! Disappointment is impossible!
  • I don't know why I picked this movie to watch, it has a strange title and from the description it just looked like something different. Every once in a while its good to try a film that's slightly different from the mainstream Hollywood hero/thriller flick and this film certainly was different. Right from the beginning this film had me intrigued but I couldn't figure out why until the end if the film when I realized that the movie was great because the characters were so real. I thought the acting was superb and the character development really makes you care about them and hope things turn out well for them in the end. I think that everyone who watches the film could in some way relate to one of the characters and this makes for great viewing and some good laughs at the sheer ordinariness of the actors.

    At the culmination of the movie you definitely get a sense of well being, and are left with the 'things are going to be OK' type of a feeling. I'm sure this will have wide appeal and should be given a chance.
  • I consider myself a huge movie buff. I was sick on the couch and popped in this film. Right from the opening to the end I watched in awe at these great actors, i'd never seen, say great word. The filming was beautiful. It was just what I needed. I hope that this message is heard over any bad comments written by others. The Director has a heart and it beats with his actors throughout. Thanku for making a film like this one. Just wonderfully awkward, beautiful kind characters who are flawed and graceful all at once. Just great. I can't submit this without 10 lines in total so I will simply go on to say that I wish for more from this director, more from all the actors in this film and more from the writer. I didn't want it to end. The end
  • this independent film was one of the best films at the tall grass film festival that i have ever seen there i loved it there are so many things that was great about the film on top of all that the cast and crew that i had the opportunity to meet were absolutely phenomenal.I thought that Avi did a great job in his role. and Ricky Ullman was absolutely true to his role for a Disney actor i was amazed at his talent to be able to go from cheesy teen comedy to such an adult role with no problems the talent in the film was just amazing the cinematography was just great if you want to see an independent film this is one really that you should see.I think that Mr Gruver would have been so proud to have such a submission in his festival and his parents loved the movie so much when it won the audience favorite they went and saw it again. this truly was a great film it was dark and funny and sad and truly emotional it was just fabulous. I am honestly just so enthused by this film and i really don't want to spoil it for any one just see it and truly be amazed at it i think that these film makers really have what it takes to go places and I hope to see more work from them in the future.
  • i actually thought this is a comedy and sat watching it expecting to laugh my ass off. pretty soon in became clear this is no comedy, or at least not a 'Jim Carrey type' one. what kept we watching was the characters - the movie starts with some pretty grim, troubled people, gathered together to try and fight one of their basic fears - fear of water, fear of swimming. we start to get bit by bit into their lives, witness their troubles, guess of their thoughts.

    actually i made it look much darker than it actually is, and besides the chain of events soon brings some light and hope to their lives.

    i probably wouldn't have watched the movie had i known its not a comedy but rather a drama, but i had good time, enjoyed the story and don't mind i spent about 90 minutes with it.

    many films treat the alienation between people in the western world, this movie shows how people can get together and help each other

    "and if in the light of dying day you meet her, don't let her pass you by and leave, don't loose her, she is your gift from the sun..."


    peace and love
  • I was really impressed with this film. The writing was fantastic, and the characters were all rich, and simple. It's very easy to get emotionally attached to all of them. The creators of this movie really hit the nail right on the head when it comes to creating real life characters, and getting the viewer sucked right into their world. Further, the music is terrific. They employed some independents to do the score, and some of the soundtrack, and they do a fantastic job adding to the movie. If you have a chance to catch this movie in a small theater or at a film festival (like I did), I highly recommend that you go see it. Also, on a personal note, Paget Brewster is beautiful in this movie. That's reason enough to go check it out.
  • kenjha21 September 2009
    This indie film looks at the lives of a group of people taking an adult swim class in Connecticut. The plot is fairly thin. What drives the film is the characters, excellently played by mostly unknown actors. Standouts in the cast are Brewster as a high school teacher experiencing marital problems and Weixler as a casino dealer who moonlights as a stripper. The two actresses give natural performances and work well together. This is an impressive feature film debut for writer Schechter and director Setton. The latter keeps the narrative moving at a fast clip. The film title and poster suggest something raunchy, but this is a marvelous little comedy-drama.
  • A community pool in Connecticut is the setting for this "under the radar" film which is charming, funny, entertaining, and appealing. Although it won prizes in major film festivals, "The Big Bad Swim" was not released to hordes of theaters across America, but was distributed in DVD form, and shown in theaters selectively.

    It is unfortunate that "The Big Bad Swim" never had the marketing hype of a Hollywood release, considering how many sinkers Hollywood HAS released this year, such as "I Know Who Killed Me." "The Big Bad Swim," a genuinely good independent film, has had to swim upstream on its own.

    Nevertheless, in "The Big Bad Swim," actress Paget Brewster is endearing and believable as Amy, the wired-to-breaking point math teacher who not only is being dumped by her husband but also is about to lose her job, and ends up taking a gamble on a new life. TV soap actor Jeff Branson-- who is HOT-- plays Noah, the earnest, vulnerable swim teacher who goes the extra pool length to help his students overcome their fears, and discovers he can learn from his students. Pretty, sexy Jess Weixler (did I just see her in a bank commercial?) deftly plays Jordan, the swimmer-to-be who works two jobs, one as a pole dancer, the other as a blackjack dealer. Her character provides the catalyst for change amongst the ensemble, but is the least understandable of the characters, because of a lack of a "back story" or motivation as to why she does what she does. Jordan is young enough to still live at home with a ubiquitous, video-camera-toting younger brother who spies on her. However, her parents are not shown to be involved with her life in any way, which seems odd. There's no drunken mother or abusive father here to explain why a normal, attractive girl from a Connecticut suburb would choose to be a self-medicating pole dancer who debases herself for loutish bachelor parties.

    Despite this quibble, "The Big Bad Swim" succeeds, in large part, because it is a happy, feel good film.

    As one might expect, learning to swim is the metaphor for life. Ultimately it's better to jump in with both feet, and get in the swim, rather than sit on the deck, because life happens to you anyway.

    The Big Bad Swim is a great date movie, a great dorm movie, a great "what haven't I seen" movie, and men like it as well as women.
  • I saw The Big Bad Swim at the 2006 Temecula film festival, and was totally caught off guard by how much I was drawn into it.

    The film centers around the lives of a group of people taking an adult swim class for various reasons. A humorous idea in its own right, the class serves as a catalyst for greater changes in the students' lives.

    What surprised me about the film was how real it felt. Rarely in ensemble pieces are characters treated so well. I enjoyed the scenes in the class immensely, and the drama that took place outside was very poignant. Nothing seemed out of place or out of character, and ultimately it left a very strong feeling, much like attending school or summer camp - where you find fast friends, form strong bonds, and make discoveries about yourself, yet have to depart all too soon.

    My only complaint was that the character of Paula had a very strong and unusual introduction, which made you want to know a little more about her than was ultimately revealed. I suppose you don't get to meet everyone in class, though...

    Aside from this, I found the film very well-rounded and quite enjoyable. See it if you get the opportunity.
  • Writing something genuine and true is challenging. Knowing how to shoot it and putting it together without making it trivial is even better. Ishai Setton's movie is one of those where you can recognize Life in all its simplicity and beauty. I have been touched by "The big bad Swim" and from now on, I will promote it as far as I can. It is just a shame that I can't have something to show to my friends (you know, such as a DVD???), because talking is good...but giving something to see is better. Everyone can't go to festivals to discover pearls like that and this movie's really worth to be put out there! A big THANK YOU to the staff of this master piece, and I am waiting for it to be distributed.
  • kezopster16 January 2009
    I watched this movie for Paget Brewster, whom I first encountered during the delightful Showtime program "Huff." Was anxious to see more of her acting, especially as a different character. As a "vehicle" for her, it was good. If you're a fan of hers, you'll truly enjoy the movie.

    All the acting in the movie is solid. The storytelling is relatively brisk (note: relatively). One element builds on a previous element, shown in chronological order. Style is good and consistent through-out. Sub-plots are uneven in places. A few characters are either not fleshed out or stereotypical. There are a couple missed opportunities for interactions between characters.

    When I saw it, I didn't realize it was an independent film until I came online to to view/make comments on it. I guess that's high praise, that it didn't feel like an independent film in size or scope. The "hook" of the story revolving around adult characters in a beginners "learn to swim" class mostly worked.
  • I think I usually approach film festival comedies with the low expectation that they will invariably be "quirky," and that any intended humor will be derived solely at the expense of the characters' simplicity in the face of a complicated context. What was exceptional about Big Bad Swim was that the director was able to maintain the integrity and development of his characters in his film while still finding laugh-out-loud humor in scene after scene. There was a sophistication, maybe due also in part to the sharp work of the DP, I've rarely seen in an indie film, and even more rarely in a comedy. Of special note here: Paget Brewster's turn as Amy the math teacher. After seeing this performance I cannot understand why Brewster hasn't been "discovered" by a larger audience. She brings the necessary mix of anger and likability to the role that really helps this picture reach its potential. This is a terrific work deserving of a larger audience. I look forward to more from the director and this cast!
  • This film is one of the best independent films that I have seen in a long time. This movie is a real gem. The ensemble cast helps the story flow to the point where nothing seems fake. Not once do you question why all these people are taking a late night swim class. The way the film was shot with underwater views as well as the different camera angles used really brings the viewer into the movie. It is unfortunate that movies like this do not get a major distribution because the cast and crew did a wonderful job. I also had the chance to see the film at The New London Film Festival in Connecticut where much of the movie was shot. I am not the best movie reviewer but please go see this film because you will not be disappointed. Two thumbs up.
  • I recently had the pleasure of seeing The Big Bad Swim at the Ft. Lauderdale Film Festival and I must say it is the best film I have seen all year and the only film I have ever felt inspired to write a comment/review on. This film was beautifully directed and combined a script with realistic dialogs, excellent acting, and an inspiring message. Ordinary lives come together in an adult swim class and become extraordinary in a celebration of the diversity of life. This is poignantly illustrated by the imagery in the first minute of this captivating film where we see only the legs and torso of individuals in various shapes and sizes enter into a pool of water. This film is brilliantly directed as the actors are placed and positioned in captivating scenes, which hold your attention and imagination.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When I first looked at the cover I didn't think much of it until I saw that Paget Brewster was in it , which immediately caught my attention. She is excellent on Criminal Minds and has such a beautiful screen presence.

    A story about a swim instructor (Jeff Branson - Noah) who seems depressed and almost torn between committing suicide and getting a pet , that brings a class of people that are afraid of water or just plain old can't swim together and as the film progresses , bonds are formed between the group.

    Again Paget Brewster (Amy) played a great roll as an indecisive school teacher going through a break-up and did it very well. Jess Weixler (Jordan) , befriends her and they form a friendship along with Jordan getting to know Noah . The whole time Jordan's brother and his friend make a Filmography about her throughout the film.

    The script is good and the cinematography is excellent for an Indie film and as slowly as it started out , it picked up steam and showed a group of people come together and form a bond.

    It is really not hard at all to recommend this film and I don't think you will be disappointed if you stick with it.
  • pc9520 August 2010
    Warning: Spoilers
    "The Big Bad Swim" I'd never heard of - all the better. Aside from the a few poor music video moments, the movie has some good writing and down to earth scenes which entertained well. (spoiler) The movie doesn't quite make it out of some clich├ęd territories, for instance with an awful superficial character supposedly trying to date the lead swim instructor - obviously thrown in as a plot device. Nonetheless it perseveres across 90 minutes. The movie seemed to be filmed on a slim budget, but that doesn't stop some fairly interesting performances and off-beat range. Indeed at the heart, it's a movie of friendship and romance. Dialog is sometimes well-reflective. At one point, I thought the movie could use some greater development and introspection, but perhaps that would kill the lighthearted mood. Note, I enjoyed the dog subplot. Recommend a watch.
  • magicr23 November 2006
    This film is hilarious, original, & beautifully directed. I have become a BIG BAD SWIM groupie, tracking it to film festivals whenever & wherever I can. I've seen it about half a dozen times now, & each time, enthusiastic audience response has confirmed my feeling that this is one of the best films to come out in years. At nearly every festival it has screened, it has either sold out, or won the Audience Favorite award. It's clear that people love this film, & even clearer why they do. The cinematography is superb, the characterization & acting brilliant, the ending fantastic, & the direction filled with compassion, wisdom & the art of perfect timing. It's hard to believe this is Ishai Setton's first film. I hope it will be released soon so everyone can see it.
  • Lonely Noah Owens (Jeff Branson) teaches an adult swim class. Among the students, school teacher Amy Pierson (Paget Brewster) is getting divorced from her lying cheating co-worker husband Paul. She starts dating Shawn (Michael Mosley) after meeting him at the casino. She awkwardly finds a new friend in Jordan Gallagher (Jess Weixler) who is a stripper and a card dealer. Jordan's brother David and his friend Hunter McCarthy (Raviv Ullman) are students of Amy and Paul. They insist on making a school project documentary on Jordan and her swim class. Paula (Liza Lapira) keeps flirting with Noah. Carl has a phobia and won't get into the pool.

    The plot meanders and the movie feels a bit scattered. I like most of the slightly off-center characters and the actors playing them. Jeff Branson is handsome but he lacks the charisma. The most compelling relationship is between Amy and Jordan. The movie simply drags too much in certain sections. The quirkiness is mildly amusing. There are some touching moments. The movie does struggle to maintain a certain flow.