Submitted by Julio M

Oscar Nominee – Best Actress (Annette Bening); Best Supporting Actress (Jodie Foster).

Short pooper:
Diana (Annette Bening) does complete the feat of swimming non-stop from Havana to Florida, after five attempts over 35 years -OTHERWISE, THERE’D BE NO MOVIE!!-.

Longer version:
Distance swimmer Diana Nyad makes, in 2010, the resolve of swimming the 110 miles between Havana, Cuba and the coast of Florida -having attempted it once in 1978 and desisted from it since-, without the safety of a shark cage and in a strait where the extremely treacherous currents from the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico could easily send her off course, all over the place and have her end up drifting out to the open sea.

Everyone has misgivings about this, due to the fact that she hasn’t swam in years and is already 60 years old at this point; nonetheless, her dearest friend and one-time girlfriend Bonnie Stoll (Jodie Foster) supports her and agrees to train her and they both hire experienced navigator John Bartlett (Rhys Ifans) to be their guide on the swim trail. The first two new attempts happen in 2011, but the state of the currents quickly throw her off course and, a month later, upon retrying, both she and lead medic Luke (Luke Cosgrove) get stung by jellyfish. Despite her injury, Diana decides to carry on after receiving an anti-venom shot, against the wishes of Bonnie and John, but gets stung a second time, passes out and has to stop.

In her third attempt, in 2012, even though Bonnie has strongly warned her against compromising the safety of their support crew, John has shown her proof of poor weather conditions and she has obtained a specially-designed jellyfish protection suit, a thunderstorm damages John’s boat and Bonnie forces Diana -despite her pleas to carry on- to abort again. When Diana expresses the intention to try once more, Bonnie furiously scolds her for what she perceives is Diana’s selfishness above everyone else’s safety and well-being, as well as Bonnie herself having basically stopped her whole life to support Diana, causing a fallout between them.

Later on, Diana acquiesces and apologizes to John and Bonnie. John forgives her but tells her he can no longer be part of the endeavour, due to financial issues and discovering he has cancer. Bonnie also forgives her and, at the same time, informs her that her former swimming coach Jack Nelson (played in flashbacks by Eric T. Miller) has died. Throughout the movie, we see brief flashes of Diana, as a child (Anna Harriette Pittman), interacting with her adoptive father Aris (Johnny Solo) and under the tutelage of Jack Nelson, who also sexually abused her. This sudden news forces her to face the demons of her trauma caused by the long-standing abuse occurred during this time.

Bonnie agrees to train Diana once again and John also returns as navigator, despite his illness. They all embark on a fourth attempt, which kicks off on August 31, 2013, under favourable weather and sea currents; however, they have a brief perilous moment when a shark approaches them and two of the crew members have to jump into the water to assist Diana as her shark-deterrent device momentarily malfunctions. Later on, Diana shows signs of dehydration and exhaustion, which causes her to hallucinate and seems to throw her slightly off course. Bonnie jumps into the water to motivate her into “giving one last push”, as they are already able, at this point, to see the Key West shoreline.

The whole group eventually makes it, on September 2nd., to a beach in Key West, where a massive crew of fans, spectators and media people have gathered to receive her. An exhausted Diana swims out of the water and struggles to take steps into the beach, while Bonnie fends off the crowd by warning everyone “she must not be touched as she completes her course, or she’d be disqualified for the whole effort”. Once Diana comes to a complete stop, everyone erupts in applause and cheer. When the press wants a few words from her, she says, as she tries to gather her breath: “Three things: never give up; never feel too old to chase a dream; and, although it looks like a solitary sport, it takes a team to pull off an effort like that one”.

The movie ends with images of the real Diana Nyad giving inspirational speeches about her experiences, while we are informed that she and Bonnie have remained closer and stronger than ever, as well as shown images of the real people in which the movie was based.

02 hours 01 minutes