Annette Bening is 0-for-4 in her quest for an Oscar. In her pursuit of that elusive win, she's taking on the role of a real-life person. She's only done that three times in her decades-long career. This go-round she'll be playing the most physically demanding role of her life. Diana Nyad got a lot of attention for her marathon swims in the late '70s. Lately, she's gotten more attention for her inflammatory comments about transgender athletes. (That likely won't come up in the movie, but could hurt the film's chances in awards races.) The film focuses on Nyad in the 2010s, when she made five attempts to swim from Florida to Cuba.
Bening co-stars with Jodie Foster as her partner and coach. Rhys Ifans plays their navigator. But the film's biggest flex will be its uncommon intensity. It marks the feature debut of documentarians Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin. Their films Free Solo and The Rescue are as thrilling and nail-biting as non-fiction films get. However the movie turns out as a whole, expect to feel every battering wave, every chilly plunge and every precious breath in the swimming scenes.
Having already premiered at Telluride and Toronto, the film plays at the BFI London Film Festival next month. Nyad then opens in select theaters on October 20 before arriving on Netflix on November 3.