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Film Review

By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

 

Swept from the Sea
Directed by Beeban Kidron
Columbia TriStar 01/98 DVD/VHS Feature Film
PG-13 -- elements of theme, some sensuality

Based on a short story by Joseph Conrad, this drama is set in England's Cornwell coast at the end of the nineteenth century. Amy Foster (Rachel Weisz) is a servant who responds to being ostracized in the rural community with silence. When Yanko Gooral (Vincent Perez), a stranger in distress, is found wandering on the farm where she works, Amy compassionately cares for him. While the townsfolk view him as an escaped lunatic, James Kennedy (Ian McKellen), a physician, realizes that he is the sole survivor of a shipwreck filled with Russian emigrants bound for America. The doctor befriends Yanko, teaches him English, and finds him work with Miss Swaffer (Kathy Bates), an invalid. When the Russian TmigrT falls in love with Amy, his employer gives them a plot of land near the sea. Their devotion to each other, to their son, and to their independence from the community is tested on one stormy night.

Screenplay writer Tim Willocks has done a masterful job delineating the passionate love affair between these two outsiders who find in each other all they need. Even more impressive is director Beeban Kidron's respect for the mystery of human personality. French writer Francois-Rene de Chauterbriand once observed, "There is nothing beautiful or sweet or great in life that is not mysterious." Swept from the Sea is a deeply spiritual movie that honors the unfathomable mysteries of life.

 

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Reviews and database copyright 1970 2012
by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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