New from Tribeca: The Swimsuit Issue on DVD, March 29
The Swimsuit Issue dramatizes the true story of the first Swedish men’s synchronized swimming team. Earlier this year, Independent Lens (PBS) premiered a documentary, Men Who Swim, chronicling the creation, challenges, and triumphs of the Stockholm Art Swim Gents. The stories diverge, but both are entertaining.
In The Swimsuit Issue, the team is named “The Swans,” a group of men who start out on a romp—performing an unsynchronized synchronized routine at a friend’s bachelor party. A wealthy woman sees the video of the performance (which was shown at the wedding much to the guests’ delight) and is so taken by it she hires them to perform at her birthday party. The friends accept the offer; they need the money to pay for a space for their netball team.
Because they are being paid, the guys figure they should polish up their act. Big mistake. They had been hired to perform their bumbling, comedic routine and the party guests just don’t get it when they perform seriously. They go unpaid. Despite this setback, they decide to form a real team and are subjected to discrimination, disbelief, and derision.
Inspiration for the bachelor party came from one member’s daughter (Amanda Davin), a synchronized swimmer. The seventeen-year-old girl is staying with her less-than-perfect father (Jonas Inde) while her mother sets up a new home in London. The Swimsuit Issue focuses on the father-daughter relationship, which is strained, improves, and is strained again over the course of the film. When daughter agrees to coach The Swans, she and her father’s relationship progress exponentially.
Also examined are the relationships between some of the swimmers and their attitudes about themselves, each other, and the task they have taken upon themselves. Their challenge, and the film’s finale, is the World Cup Competition in Berlin. Driven to win the cup, the men discover that there are different types of winning and other measures of success.
Centered on the synchronized swimming team, The Swimsuit Issue is about family, friends, loyalty, setting and resetting goals, and commitment. It is a feel-good movie in the tradition of other little-engines-that-could, such as Calendar Girls and The Full Monty. The Swimsuit Issue is a Swedish language film with English subtitles. Special features include an interview with director Mans Herngren and “An Interview with The Swimsuit Issue Team.”