Director: Doug Sadler
Screenwriters: Doug Sadler


In a seaside Maryland fishing town caught between the past and the present, a lonely young girl and a desperate young woman develop an intense chance friendship that leads them both to quiet salvations in Swimmers, a bold and superbly acted drama about love and longing in times of crisis.

Filmmaker Doug Sadler's deep appreciation for the complexities of simple rural life is passed effortlessly on to his acclaimed cast, led by Tara Devon Gallagher as Emma, the 11-year-old girl who narrates the film, and Sarah Paulson as Merrill, her older confidante. When the girl's medical care fractures her struggling family, the spark ignites old wounds and hidden resentments which she struggles to understand. Veteran actors Cherry Jones and Robert Knott control the domains of land and sea, respectively, longing so much to provide for their daughter that they almost fail to see her.

A uniquely American story that combines an Arthur Miller sense of drama with emotive Edward Hopperesque photography, Swimmers draws us in as naturally as the tide with the sharp reflections of its truth and humanity. For the characters and us, the dreamlike waves of the Atlantic tug on the bonds that tie even as they draw us out to deeper inner waters.

— Joseph Beyer

Screening Details

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