The Song of Sway Lake

The Song of Sway Lake

Ari Gold (2017)

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Review

Our Score
A rare 78 record offers the solution to an estranged family's money woes in this gorgeous-looking, wistful drama from director Ari Gold. It's 1992 and wayward Ollie Sway (Rory Culkin) returns to the idyllic lakeside home of his youth - vacant since his disc-collecting dad's suicide - with the express purpose of stealing his priceless "perfect record". However, Ollie's fortune-hunting in the company of hedonistic Russian buddy Nikolai (an in-his-element Robert Sheehan) is abruptly sidetracked when his haughty grandmother Charlie (Mary Beth Peil) arrives with plans of her own. The opening of old wounds eventually gives way to soul-searching and emotional revelations, played out in a dreamy, sun-dappled location (Blue Mountain Lake in New York state) dripping with nostalgia thanks to an evocative soundtrack of swing and jazz tunes. Gold should be applauded for not succumbing to sentimentality and glib clichés - the nascent romance between Ollie and local girl Isadora (Isabelle McNally) is refreshingly awkward. But he's also lucky to have such a committed cast, with Peil (better known for her stage work and as a regular on Dawson's Creek) outstanding here, especially in scenes alongside the late Elizabeth Peña (in her final role as Charlie's Cuban maid).

Cast & Crew

Ollie Rory Culkin
Nikolai Robert Sheehan
Isadora Isabelle McNally
Charlie Sway Mary Beth Peil
Marlena Elizabeth Peña
Hal Sway Brian Dennehy
Director Ari Gold
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourGuidance: Swearing, sex scenes, nudity