Vol. 17, No. 04 – Nov 15 – Nov 28, 2023 – Movie Review

Streaming Spotlight by Cindy Summers
– Netflix

4 out of 4 palm trees

NYAD is the incredibly inspiring true story of world-renowned open ocean swimmer Diana Nyad (Annette Bening) and her quest to conquer what was believed to be impossible by swimming unassisted and without pause from Cuba to Key West, Florida. The trip was difficult due to unpredictable weather and strong ocean currents and Diana had first tried at the age of 28, but the weather and oceans currents were very unfavorable and she only completed 76 of the 103 miles, due to 8 foot swell pushing her off course toward Texas.

At the age of 60, Diana decided she wanted to give Cuba another try and began lap swimming in the local public pool after not having done any swimming at all for nearly 30 years. When she was able to swim 8 hours without pause, she reached out to her best friend Bonnie (Jodie Foster) to coach her and join her in her attempt in Cuba. Bonnie initially refused, not having even known that Diana had started training again, but eventually agreed and they went to Mexico for a test run in the open ocean.

Diana’s goal in Mexico was 8 hours in open water, but in her first attempt she was only able to complete 4.5 hours. This was unacceptable to Diana, who asked Bonnie if they could try again and was able to complete just over 8 hours the next day. She would sing songs to herself to keep pace, but they had to be on a 4×4 beat so that it would keep her timing correct and she built up a library of at least 96 mostly classic hit songs to sing in her head as she swam.

2nd attempt, August 7, 2011 at age 60. Diana was given a different medication than the Tylenol requested for shoulder pain and she was allergic to it, had a medical emergency and had to stop at 53 miles left in after 28 hours 42 minutes. 3rd attempt, September 23rd 2011 at age 62. Diana was stung by box jellyfish, which are extremely dangerous and not known to be in the area, and given an EpiPen injection unknowingly making it worse having to stop 59 miles from Florida. 4th attempt, August 18, 2012 at age 61. Diana ended the swim at 12:55 am on August 21, 2012, due to two storms and nine jellyfish stings though she manged to travel the greatest distance than her three previous attempts.

5th attempt, August 31, 2013 at age 64. Diana wore a special box jellyfish suit at night to keep her from getting injured. On the morning of the second day, the electronic system that was designed to repel sharks also went down and a shark headed for her but she was protected by the shark wranglers who were able to get the system back online in time. After swimming almost two full days she started hallucinating which was natural for the depleted nutrients in her body, and though she was exhausted and hallucinating still had about 12 hours to go. Bonnie was able to encourage Diana to continue and she finally walked up on the shore of Key West Florida after 52 hours 54 minutes in the ocean and was greeted by hundreds of fan there to support her mission.

Since her epic accomplishment, Diana’s talked at many TED talks and done many other notable things including appearing on “Dancing with the Stars” being a the subject of a skit on “Saturday Night Live”, and starting a movement to walk across America with her best friend Bonnie Stoll.

Annette Benning and Jodie Foster are dead ringers visually for their characters and they portray a very believed bond of best friends. Not only is this an incredibly inspiring story for people of all ages, there’s an aeriel shot at 1h16m of Ventura’s Crowne Plaza where in the movie Diana was giving a presentation to a group in a hotel conference room.

Runtime: 2h 1m

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