The new biographical drama follows the true story of long-distance swimmer Diana Nyad, who embarked on the challenge of swimming between Florida and Cuba without a shark cage at the age of 64.
Following its international premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, Nyad has received largely positive reviews, with particular praise directed towards Bening's performance as Nyad and Jodie Foster as her coach and best friend Bonnie Stoll.
Here's what critics have been saying:
"Bening continues to reach new heights in her long and impressive career, and this one ranks near the top. She is matched by Foster, really nailing Stoll’s energy, frustration, and friendship, and along the way delivering her best screen work in years, a reminder of this star’s true grit and timeless talent."
"In their first narrative feature, directors [Elizabeth Chai] Vasarhelyi and [Jimmy] Chin demonstrate the same command of cinematic storytelling that enlivened their documentaries (which include The Rescue and Wild Life in addition to Free Solo). Perhaps the script could have benefited from a slightly darker edge, but as an enveloping sensual experience and as an acting showcase, Nyad scores."
"Annette Bening portrays the outspoken public figure with gusto, but it’s Jodie Foster, as Nyad’s friend and coach Bonnie Stoll, who might be the film’s real star."
"Vasarhelyi and Chin [...] clearly have a gift for mining extreme sports for suspense and excitement. And strategically or not, they’ve ensured that the heart of the movie isn’t Bening’s performance as Nyad, strong and ferocious as it is, but rather Jodie Foster’s beautiful supporting turn as Bonnie Stoll, the swimmer’s longtime best friend and most faithful ally. It’s her heroic endurance you leave this movie thinking about."
"Bening and Foster are a joy to watch and will unquestionably be part of the Oscar conversation, but despite their best efforts, they can't quite keep Nyad afloat."
Nyad is set for a limited US release on October 20, and will stream on Netflix from November 3.
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