Nyad is the true story of Diana Nyad, who at sixty years old decided to swim from Cuba to Florida, a distance of about 110 miles. The film is inspiring, passionate, and a powerhouse of motivation that will have audiences wanting more.
Swimming is an important life skill, but few people have the persistence and braveness to fulfill a dream like Diana Nyad. This film shows that dreams really can come true. Directed by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, Nyad is first and foremost a film of inspiration and courage. Featuring the incomparable Annette Bening (as Diane Nyad), Jodie Foster (as Bonnie Stoll), and Rhys Ifans (as John Bartlett), the film just shines. All three actors were excellent, but Bening’s performance in particular really stood out.
Although it was Diana Nyad who was actually in the water, teamwork is the emphasis in Nyad. At one point Diana’s friend Bonnie questions her commitment to her goal and the timing of the swim. The weather when she chose to make the swim was unpredictable and the currents were strong, making the conditions dangerous. But despite these issues, Diana shows that she is in fact fully invested in completing this task. Bonnie becomes her coach and sticks by her side to help Diana complete her dream.
There is a lot of trial and error associated with Diana’s mission, and their assistant John goes out of his way to help navigate the conditions. Diana is always learning something new in her quest to complete the task, but with something as difficult and dangerous as Diana is attempting, there are always delays and other barriers. She also had a lot of people trying to talk her out of trying to make the journey. But that only motivates Diana to work harder to condition her body for the dangers ahead, and to just keep moving forward.
In addition to all the other issues, Diana’s age is, of course, also a problem. But each time Diane hits a plateau she finds a new way to overcome the problem. The conditions are always harsh, but she keeps jumping back into the rough water. The route from Cuba to Florida is not going anywhere, and neither is Diana, Bonnie, or John. They are the dream team helping Diane to become a legend in the water. And for Diane, despite her age, this dream is not too late.
Nyad is a reminder to us all to never give up. And it shows that having the courage to make mistakes, and then correcting those mistakes, benefits us in the long run. One of the lines in the film is, “It looks like a solitary sport, but it takes a team.” Those words highlight the focus of this film. Diane followed her dreams, and Bonnie and John were her essential partners in crime.
Nyad is a one-of-a-kind achievement with a positive attitude. Four out of four stars for Nyad. Now streaming on Netflix.