The Swimmers review: As inspiring as it gets

‘The Swimmers’ is a Netflix film that follows the perilous journey of two courageous refugee sisters, Yusra and Sara, culminating in a race at the 2016 Rio Olympics.


‘The Swimmers’ is an inspiring movie about two sisters, who escape their homeland in order to pursue their dreams and live a reasonable life. The plot is based on true events.

The movie begins with a background idea of the harsh reality of Syria. The country is in a poor state, with frequent bombings. Following this, the story narrows down to the Mardini family. In this movie, the star swimmers are Yusra and Sara, who are trained by their father, Ezzat.

Ezzat has a lot of hope for his younger daughter, Yusra. He dreams of seeing her win the Olympics. However, with the ongoing terror attacks in Syria, there is little hope unless Yusra gets to escape. Sisters Yusra and Sara plead with their families and escape the horror of Syria’s terrorism. Their cousin brother Nizar also joins them.

The Mardini sisters’ harrowing escape from their war-torn home country, Syria, is highlighted in the first half of the movie. One gets to witness how terror takes away the joy of living for those in Syria.

After much persuasion, Yusra and Sara escape Syria. Their journey from Syria to Germany is a heart-aching one. Flights, buses, trucks – the Mardini sisters and Nizar’s journey is an insight into how difficult it is for refugees to flee and finally live.

The sisters are not only refugees but also heroes, who helped save the lives of 18 other refugees by swimming across the sea in a sinking boat. In fact, their heroic deed is the biggest highlight of the story.

Upon arrival in Berlin after many struggles, Yusra signs up to train under a swimming coach, Sven. After initially refusing to participate in the Refugee Olympics, Yusra agrees, to make the most of her time and situation.

Following this, Yusra participates in the 2016 Refugee Olympics, whilst Sara chooses to become a refugee activist. The storyline reaches a point where one can trace a happy ending for the Mardini family.


The main characters Yusra and Sara are played by real-life sisters Nathalie and Manal Issa. Both sisters are the perfect choices to play the roles. Their performances are quite above the mark.

Other actors such as Matthias Schweighöfer (who plays Sven), Ahmed Malek (who plays Nizar), and so on, have done a splendid job. The most amazing thing about this casting was that quite a few of the crew members were refugees.


The direction of the movie is excellent. The sky view shots are breathtaking, to say the least. Some scenes feel like they were inspired by certain wide-angle shots of Titanic.

The truthful representation of the Mardini sisters’ story is very appreciated. Audiences will always applaud honesty in a story – it is a way of connecting to the writers and directors of the movie. The transparency in the movie gives a raw reality check of how tough life is for refugees.

The background story of the Mardini family is one of the key areas that should be appreciated. Their struggles and sacrifices are as important to the movie as Yusra and Sara’s storyline.

The music and soundtracks are good reliefs in the film. Certain pop songs make for great additions. The plain music lends an energetic spirit to the characters, which gives the pace of the movie a little bit of a push.


There are quite a few loose endings to this ‘The Swimmers’. Nizar’s storyline feels very out of the blue. His origin story feels off too. Since he was there for the majority part of the movie, his story should have been a little crisper.

The escape from Syria to Germany was brilliantly filmed; however, more context should have been given to Yusra’s training in swimming. Her journey as a swimmer seems too easygoing.


This movie is inspiring to its core. The journey of Yusra and Sara from being prisoners in their own homes, to finding a home in a foreign land arouses emotions of contentment. There is a lot that can inspire one from the contents of the movie.

‘The Swimmers’ has brilliant cinematography. Certain scenes are goosebumps-inducing. The direction of the movie is more powerful than the dialogue. For that alone, the movie is a must-watch.

The Swimmers
The Swimmers review: As inspiring as it gets 1

Director: Sally El Hosaini

Date Created: 2022-11-23 13:30

Editor's Rating:

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