Everyone loves a film about an inspiring, against-the-odds true life story that’s both heartwarming and uplifting. Netflix’s new movie, The Swimmers, which comes to the platform on 23rd November, definitely falls into this category. It tells the story of two sisters who are forced to escape their home in Syria during escalating war and violence and, after enduring a difficult journey and changes to their lives, go on to compete at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Beginning in Syria during the civil war, the two young sisters are trying to make the most of their lives despite the difficulties surrounding them and distract themselves with the fun of swimming. However, the increasing violence and chaos become too much to live in, and after a bomb attack in their local area, they’re forced to leave their Damascus home and try to escape away from their war-torn country. They have to take an inflatable boat across miles of sea to be able to get away, endure the perils of the ocean, and travel through different countries on their way to Germany, along with their cousin.
The dramatisation of events that we’ve heard so much about in headlines in the last decade certainly makes for powerful viewing, and you’ll inevitably be rooting for the pair to arrive safely at their destination, or anywhere out of danger. Yursa, one of the two, is particularly keen on pursuing swimming as a career and lifestyle. Having been trained since they were young by their father to become professional swimmers, Yursa is still determined for this to become a reality, and fulfilling her dream of reaching and competing in the Olympics. Her sister, Sara, has become less interested in the idea over the years but finds herself drawn back in by their new situation and Yursa’s enthusiasm.
The two had escaped Syria and the conflict in 2015, and incredibly, Yursa was a competitor at the Games in Rio de Janeiro only a year later. The trailer for the film gives you some idea of the events, beginning by showing the sisters trying to comfort each other in the inflatable lifeboat surrounded by other refugees, before switching back in time to the sisters at a pool in Syria, before huge explosions plunge things into chaos and a missile lands in the pool in front of Yursa. It then shows a montage of both the sisters trying to get through their journey and training and adjusting to their new lives, with the sound of Sia singing Titanium in the background.