The Swimmers Makes a Splash on Netflix

Based on a true story, this new original film is heartfelt and inspiring

Paxtyn Mangus, Staff Writer

Flashing back to 2016, the movie The Swimmers, a Netflix original film gives us a raw, emotional, heroic feeling as we watch two young sisters from Syria make the journey to Europe to put their hearts out in the pool. Two real-life sisters, Yusra Mardini (Nathalie Issa) and Sara Mardini (Manual Issa) are brave enough to flee war-torn Syria to pursue their dreams to participate in the Olympics for swimming. 

Released on November 11, 2022, The Swimmers is a very touching film that touches on the real events in history that are overlooked by many. The injustice of wars, the bureaucracy, the women in power, and the reality of the suffering of migrants, this film catches the attention of many middle-aged individuals. 

During the movie, we start in Syria in a basic swimming pool as the sisters spend time together before they head home and we begin to see the story set into place. Immediately after arriving home, during Yusra’s surprise birthday party, their father makes a toast to honor the girls and their previous successes in swimming. 

Changing scenes in the movie, we jump to a more intense setting at a party where we see bombs bursting and guns firing in the background, and then suddenly this movie turns not so happy. With a complete change of heart, Sara realizes that the “Olympics” may never be an option since the war, but Yusra, even in the darkest stage of her life, stays positive in hopes they will get there someday. 

One quote in the movie from the sisters’ father, Ezzat Mardini (Ali Suliman) is, “In the water, you’re on your own. It’s your fight. You aim to win. It’s not about being nice.” This quote sets the tone for the rest of the movie as Yusra aims her anger into pursuing the voyage and making it to Europe to compete. Just as Yusra starts to swim the first race we get to exhibit a missile launched into the pool, scattering, Ezzat, and Sara dive into the pool to save Yusra before it’s too late. 

Convinced to let the girls travel to Europe, Ezzat lets go of them in the hands of their cousin, Nizar (Ahmed Malek). Joining them on this treacherous journey are many other migrants from other countries. Working together through the cold water, and the ridged waves of the Mediterranean, they make it to land. Leading the boat through the ocean are Yusra and Sara, heroes using their abilities to save everyone. Landing in Lesbos Europe, the group discovers hundreds of used life jackets from other migrants who also made the journey. Seeing the two women coming together to save the others, really highlights the main points of the movie. Creating her ‘own lane’ Yusra defies the odds and leads off of personal triumph.

The Mardini sisters and their cousin Nizar defeated, but still eggar to continue their journey

At the beginning of the journey, each family or individual had their destiny and dream to follow, but as they come closer they realize they cannot do it alone, they must do it together to survive. As they arrive in Hungary, Yusra decides to not continue with the group and decides to go on her separate journey. Putting her trust in her sister, they safely make it to Germany, but soon find out they will not be able to go to Hannover.

After seeing the girls go through so much to get to Germany, Yusra decides to approach swim coach Sven (Matthias Schweighofer) and asks for an opportunity to swim for him. With determination, Yusra convinces and impresses the coach with her ‘unstoppable’ times. 

Determined and tired, Yusra works her hardest to train with everything she has to make it to Rio on the refugee team. Sara on the other hand, is on a different page, wanting to do something with her life in her way. As she swims for everyone that has supported her in life, but most importantly herself, Yusra wins her 100m butterfly race.

Martin Cid Magazine
Yusra Martini after winning the 100m Butterly race at the 2016 Rio Olympics

Overall, this movie was immaculate. It portrayed the story of Yusra and Sara Mardini beautifully. Fans are rating this movie 4.8/5 stars, everyone is loving how the story is covering all of the aspects of a refugee and are not sugarcoating it. This movie is worth the watch if you enjoy the true story, tear-jerkers. This movie may be hard for some viewers as it is PG-13 and includes some violence and language.