The Swimmer
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John Cheever's "misery in suburbia" short stories, brief and to the point, have always proven excellent TV fodder. Director Frank Perry's The Swimmer, adapted for the screen by Perry's wife Eleanor, is a rare, and for the most part successful, attempt at offering a Cheever story in feature-length form. Dressed only in swimming trunks throughout the film, Burt Lancaster plays a wealthy, middle-aged advertising man, embarked on a long and revelatory journey through suburban Connecticut. Lancaster slowly makes his way to his split-level home by travelling from house to… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 100%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"A resounding commercial flop, this has since been recognized as a signature 60s film, prescient in its view of American self-deception."
‑ J. R. Jones, Chicago Reader
"Burt Lancaster is superb in his finest performance."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"Beautifully shot and executed, the effort is generous with disturbing, puzzling behavior, yet wise enough to provide clear clues to aid interpretation."
‑ Brian Orndorf,
"An enigmatic, poetic, disturbing, interestingly pretentious fable."
‑ Kim Newman, Empire Magazine
"Director Frank Perry's cult favorite"
‑ Shane Burridge,
"A largely loony but oddly compulsive allegory."
‑ Geoff Andrew, Time Out
"A woefully forgotten gem from the 1960s ... a penetrating piece of introspection that was clearly ahead of its time."
‑ Matt Brunson, Creative Loafing
"Frequently silly but oddly memorable and unsettling."
‑ , TV Guide's Movie Guide
"A mannerist, moody and wonderfully strange allegory of the squandered American Dream. Like a plunge into the deep end, it stings and refreshes."
‑ , Film4
"As do few movies, The Swimmer stays in the memory like an echo that never quite disappears."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"As effectively as almost any movie ever made about American suburbia, The Swimmer gets the contentment that comes with material success[...] And it gets how the fantasy is hard to sustain."
‑ Noel Murray, The Dissolve
"Ned Merrill is a tragic hero for the '60s, and it's one of Lancaster's most searing performances."
‑ Christopher Null,
"Like a series of hammer-blows to the gut."
‑ Phil Freeman,
More reviews for The Swimmer on Rotten Tomatoes