An uplifting true story of Syrian immigrant sisters in The Swimmers
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Hope floats in The Swimmers: The Syrian Mardini sisters’ true-life story is so extraordinary that it should come as no surprise that director Sally El Hosaini made a film about them. Sara and Yusra Mardini fled their war-torn hometown of Damascus by boat in 2015 in search of a better life in Germany (along with their aspiring DJ cousin — played by Egypt’s talented Ahmed Malek). The sisters have a strong relationship, and they both love swimming, with Yusra being especially gifted and competitive, hoping to qualify for the then-upcoming Olympic Games in Rio. After a perilous journey, they arrive in Germany, where they meet coach Sven (Matthias Schweighöfer), who thinks Yusra’s dream just might come true. With a running time of nearly 2.5 hours, this is a long film that may require two sittings to get through, but it’s hard not to be inspired by this true story, especially as Sia’s pop-powered ballads rage on in the background. The movie is available to watch on Netflix (watch trailer, runtime 2:25).