On A Clear Day

A Review by Jason L. King

Starring: Peter Mulla, Brenda Blethy, Jamie Sives, Billy Boyd
Directed By: Gabby Dellal
Rated: PG-13 for mild language
Movie Released: 2005

Final Grade: Grade

When aging shipbuilder Frank Redmond is fired from his job by the new upper management he doesn’t know how to adapt to his new found circumstances. His relationship with his son is estranged and the two can’t say more than two words to each other without walking away from each other and his wife is even a bit distant. But with the help of his friends he begins to secretly plan to swim the English Channel with the help of his friends.

On A Clear Day is a small independent film that Focus Features and Universal Pictures put out in 2004-2005. The film circuited its way around small art houses and cinemplexes and never really gained steam. Now it sits on rental shelves collecting dust, which is really a sad affair.

I myself am guilty of this plight, I picked up a copy of On a Clear Day at least a year ago and left it unwatched on a shelf. I figured it was one of those clearance rentals that sounded ok, and was actually cheaper to buy than rent at most locations. So there it sat amongst the 500 other DVD’s on the shelves awaiting that day when I too would blow off the dust and give it a chance.

Well, today was that day. I really enjoyed this film. It was a nicely paced heartwarming story. It’s the kind of film that is inspirational in the way that it makes you feel a bit lazy. After all, a 65 year old man just swam the English channel, and my biggest accomplishment is I can sit on a couch eating cheesy poofs and think that’s inspiring. What a sad life some of us live. Never the less On a Clear Day achieves it’s simple but inspiring story.

One of the things I really liked is the character development in the film. Of course we have Frank going through his transformation, but each of Franks friends also face their own insecurities throughout the course of the film thanks to the inspiration of Frank’s “crazy idea.” Each of the characters had a quirk, much like each of your own friends do and that is what makes them a loveable cast. I think what also helped bring a sense of realness to the film is that none of these actors are really “big” names in Hollywood, except Billy Boyd of Lord of the Rings hobbit fame. Sure the other people have popped up in films before, but it wasn’t like I was watching a movie about Tom Cruise swimming the English Channel. There is something about a big name in a film that can take away from the overall effect of a simple, heartwarming tale such as this.

In the end, On a Clear Day is a great film about finding yourself and your family again, over coming adversity and going for your dreams. It is a great pick me up film that has been forgotten over the last few years. Why not give it a shot on your next rental.

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