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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Friendships, adversity, and achievements make Nyad a life-changing movie

Annette+Bening+and+Jodie+Foster+were+more+than+perfect+for+their+role+in+this+film
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Annette Bening and Jodie Foster were more than perfect for their role in this film

In 1975, Diana Nyad received widespread recognition for her record time of swimming the twenty-eight miles around Manhattan Island. It was only three years later that she announced her last competitive swim at thirty years old: one-hundred-and-two miles from North Bimini Island, Bahamas, to Juno Beach, Florida.

Following that attempt, Nyad hung up her swimsuit for the next thirty years.

It wasn’t until her sixtieth birthday that her life-long dream of completing the unimaginable swim from Cuba to Florida was reawakened. 

The Oscar-nominated biopic, Nyad, based on her memoir Find a Way, flawlessly encapsulates every emotion of her journey. The first thing that drew me into the film wasn’t the story itself—if I’m being honest, I had no idea what it was going to be about—but the actors. After hearing that Annette Bening (portraying Nyad) and Jodie Foster (playing her best friend, Bonnie Stoll) were the stars, I needed no more persuading to see the movie. I snatch any opportunity to see my favorite actors perform together; in this film, Bening and Foster had some of the greatest chemistry I’ve seen. Having to present an extremely tight-knit friendship seemed effortless, and I had trouble believing that they didn’t share thirty years of memories together.

This film easily covered every detail of Nyad’s story that I needed. From the absurd amount of research needed on the Gulf Stream—an extremely powerful current that would easily knock her off course if not timed right—to her battle with ocean wildlife and struggle against ageism, I didn’t pause the movie once. 

The thing that resonated with me the most, however, was her pure determination to achieve her final dream, or destiny as she put it. Clearly, she was bound to undergo immense physical strain with each attempt she made, but even through every other obstacle she faced in the water, she kept swimming: her first effort was cut short due to strong currents pulling her off course; the second, third, and fourth attempts failed because of a combination of weather and sea life. 

When she cried, I’m proud to say that I cried right along with her.

Nyad’s challenge restricted her with no physical contact from her team, and, by her personal preference, without a shark cage. The only measures she took to protect herself from aquatic life was an electronic shark deterrent, but this didn’t prevent multiple run-ins with box jellyfish. 

The hazards that came with her trip only intensified at night. Her one-hundred-and–three-mile trip turned into seven more due to the fatigue and exhaustion she showed while pushing through fifty-three hours without rest.

Although the storytelling was phenomenal, my favorite part was undoubtedly the emotional aspect of the movie. Bening showcased such utterly raw emotions throughout the entire film that truly leaves me without words. After four failed attempts and her whole crew bailing on her, Nyad displayed more persistence than ever before. When she cried, I’m proud to say that I cried right along with her.

Along with Bening, Foster was indescribable. I don’t think I’ve ever felt the passion and platonic love that two people can have for one another on film nearly as strongly as I saw here. Through every trial on Nyad’s trip, Stoll was eternally by her side. When she took breaks during the off-season, Stoll always came back; on her final trip, when the coast of Florida was visible on the horizon, Stoll got in the water with her and encouraged her to keep going, making her fifth swim a resounding success.

After viewing perhaps the most pure and wholesome friendship that only flourished in the face of adversity, I can safely say that Nyad is a movie that will continue to change my life with every watch.

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About the Contributor
Rowan Szpieg, Staff Writer
Rowan is entering her first year on The Central Trend as a junior writer. Her love of writing developed in recent years through expressive poetry. Although it is a hobby that assumes a bit of her time already, when she's not sitting back with a new writing piece on her computer, you can find her playing her guitar. Any spare time she has that's not occupied with family or friends is spent learning to play new songs. She also loves to spend her nights under the stars around a bonfire in the summer and laughing too much playing board games in the winter. Rowan is always up for a movie night as a way to share her interest in film. When she's not watching a movie, she has Friends playing in the background on every occasion.   Comfort movie: The Proposal Favorite time of the year: When Christmas music starts to play Favorite book: Tuesdays With Morrie by Mitch Albom Favorite song to play on guitar: Don't Think Twice, It's All Right by Bob Dylan Has she shortened her watchlist of movies? Not at all! It's still over 300

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