Swimming For Gold
Peyton List, Lauren Esposito, Daniel Needs, Olivia Nardini, Ray Chong Nee
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…a blissful charmer…
Busy Aussie production house The Steve Jaggi Company has seemingly hit on a winning formula if their list of past, current and future projects – of which there are many – is anything to go by. Films like Rip Tide and Back Of The Net, and the upcoming Romance On The Menu, Kidnapped and This Little Love Of Mine, have all taken a deeply, unabashedly commercial route, while remaining totally Australian in their outlook but with an international flavour, usually courtesy of imported leading stars. Sensibly, these stars (Debby Ryan, Cindy Busby, Sofia Wylie) all have a sales-friendly profile in the US, but don’t come with bank-breaking price tags. To top it off, the films are all sunny, sweet, well made and easily digestible, and very often helmed by female directors. It’s a strong business model, and at a time when film production has pretty much ground to a halt in this country, it’s proving to be a successful one too.
The impressive strike rate continues with Swimming For Gold. The charming Peyton List (TV’s Jessie, Bunk’d and Cobra Kai) stars as champion American swimmer Claire Carpenter, who is in a funk after an unfortunate poolside incident. Scared of getting back in the water, Claire is encouraged (read: forced) by her father (former Home And Away star Martin Dingle-Wall doing an impressive American accent) to head down under to take a coaching position at an elite swimming camp. Once there, the largely indifferent Claire bangs heads with past rival Mikayla Michaels (Lauren Esposito), finds allies in nice guy swimmer Liam (Daniel Needs), goofy fan-girl Annabelle (Olivia Nardini) and fellow coach Bodhi (Ray Chong Nee), and must dig deep to find her inner coach and lead the boys’ swim team to victory.
Though hardly original, Swimming For Gold is a blissful charmer from first time feature director Hayley MacFarlane, who keeps things colourful and effervescent, and easily exploits the ample winning qualities of her engaging and fresh-faced young cast. A safe bet for the school holidays and beyond, Swimming For Gold is good, clean, highly accomplished Aussie entertainment.