ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Entertainment and Media»
  • Movies & Movie Reviews

Swept From the Sea: Will a Shipwreck Survivor and a Lonely Outcast Find Love?

Updated on January 17, 2018
Athlyn Green profile image

Athlyn Green enjoys good movies and discusses these with readers who may be looking to add to their home libraries.

An epic romance that plays out against a rugged backdrop of sea, cliffs, and stunning landscapes.

A Ship Sets Sail for America But Sinks to a Watery Grave

A lone survivor grapples with challenges on a  new shore.
A lone survivor grapples with challenges on a new shore.

Beginnings and Endings

Swept From the Sea is a 1997 movie starring Vincent Perez and Rachel Weisz, with supporting roles by big-name actors Kathy Bates and Ian McKellen. The film is an epic romance that plays out against a rugged backdrop of sea, cliffs, and stunning scenery.

Based on the 1901 short story, Amy Foster, written by Joseph Conrad, it tells tale of immigrants who, with hopes soaring high, set sail for America in 1888. They encounter a storm at sea and their ship goes down off the Cornish shore, and all on-board lose their lives, except one.

From there, the movie chronicles the fate of the sole survivor, a Ukrainian peasant named Yanko Goral. What awaits him? Will he be welcomed by the villagers or treated as an outsider? Will he master a new language, adapt to his new country, and build a better life? Will he finally find love and happiness?

The film explores contrasting themes of acceptance versus non-acceptance, kindness versus cruelty, the many faces of love and loss, and how actions affect outcomes.

Now, let's take a closer look at a movie that resonated with audiences.

Yanko Goral

Yanko's name means "little John from the mountains." He leaves his home in the Carpathian mountains but finds mountain-like obstacles in his path to forge a new life and find a home and happiness.

After his immigrant ship goes down,Yanko Goral washes ashore in Cornwall, England. Unbeknownst to him, he is the sole survivor.

A New Shore and a New Life?

Yanko and his shipmates had been sailing to America but never reached their destination. Other than Yanko, all were lost after a storm at sea.

Yanko makes his way to a farmhouse and seeks help but his wild appearance frightens the inhabitants, except for a young girl, Amy Foster, who is a loner with a kind heart. She looks below his disheveled appearance and recognizes he is a human being in desperate need of help. Amy knows only too well what it feels like to be viewed with suspicion and fear and given few, if any, chances.

In secret, Amy nurses Yanko back to health, smuggling food to him, washing him, and caring for him.

Yanko recovers and eventually finds work but he doesn't forget the silent and compassionate girl who helped him when no one else would.

Meanwhile, the local doctor (Ian McKellen) figures out that Yanko is, in fact, Russian. The doctor and Yanko discover a mutual love for the game of Chess and strike up a friendship, sharing many companionable hours together. Yanko helps the doctor improve his Chess game and in the process, the doctor, having lost his own son, develops fatherly feelings towards Yanko. Both men have had to survive incredible losses that altered the courses of their lives.

The doctor's friends, the Swaffers, hire Yanko and pay him wages. Yanko learns that Miss Swaffer (Kathy Bates), was denied love and a normal life when, on the eve of her wedding day, she had a horse-riding accident and ended up with a broken spine.

Meanwhile, bodies from the doomed ship start washing ashore.

Amy discover's Yanko's name at the obelisk the town has erected for those who were lost on Yanko's Ship. She breaks the news to him, and he finally learns the fate of his friends and fellow travelers. Yanko is distraught and Amy takes Yanko to her secret cave.

Love & Loss Play Out Against a Rugged Landscape

Those battling inner and outer demons show understanding and compassion.

Yanko

  • loss of friends, family, and homeland
  • treated as an outcast
  • has to learn another language
  • has to adjust to a foreign land
  • is assaulted

Amy

  • unloved by family
  • treated cruelly by villagers
  • also treated as an outcast

Dr. Kennedy

  • lost wife
  • lost child

Miss Swaffer

  • a tragic accident that broke her spine doomed her to a life of spinsterhood
  • forever crippled

Whatever they do to us, whatever take they from us... I am your home and you're mine.

The Cornish Landscape - Cliffs Washed by the Sea

Source

A Fated Voyage

Yanko sets sail from Central Europe but is shipwrecked off the coast of England. His ship crosses the English channel but never crosses the ocean to America.

Cornwall, England

A markerCornwall, England -
Cornwall, UK
get directions

Amy Foster

Amy is a country girls who is viewed as a simpleton, while others think she is a witch who can conjure storms. She is a loner who has a gentle, patient, kind nature and is a lover of the sea, but she is misunderstood and wronged not only by her family but by many of the villagers.

The Beautiful Rachel Weisz

Source

I will love him until the end of the world.

— Amy Foster

Star-Crossed Lovers

Despite the town's opposition and Amy's father's hatred towards Yanko, Amy and Yanko are drawn to each other and soon find they are in love. When Yanko is set upon, once again, it is Amy who cares for him.

The Swaffers arrange for the pair to be married and give them a cottage to live in, but when Yanko falls ill, the villagers will not help him, in spite of Amy's pleas.

The doctor has to battle his own attraction to Amy and when tragedy strikes, he is racked with guilt because he left medicine for Yanko but left and continued on his rounds. When the doctor returns to the cottage, things have reached a crisis point. And he blames Amy. Once again, Amy is unfairly judged.

Themes

Loss
Loss of family
Loss of home
Loss of health
Loss of love

Kindness in the Face of Adversity

Interesting messages this film portrays is that kindness, while easy to give, is not necessarily shown by those in favorable circumstances who have no reason to be cruel, and that religion, which should be a tempering force for good, doesn't necessarily make better people.

Dr. Kennedy and Miss Swaffer, after suffering terrible losses, could have turned cynical, bitter and cruel but they show far more perception, acceptance, and compassion, befriending and helping Amy and Yanko. Amy, herself, while shown little love or acceptance, shows Yanko kindness and compassion.

Take-away: it's not what life throws at us but how we choose to deal with whatever comes our way. Kindness is always the better course.

Take-Away

It's not what life throws at us but how we choose to deal with whatever comes our way.

Three Thumbs Up

I first rented this movie, then later, bought it for my home library. I found it such a different offering--a thought-provoking movie suitable for both teens and adults. Rachel Weisz and Vincent Perez do a great job as the star-crossed lovers.

Why This Story is Timely

Swept From the Sea could be the tale of anyone who left their homeland with the hope of creating a better life. This dramatic work speaks to the larger historical reality experienced by many courageous immigrants who suffered privation and hardship and who then had to endure many challenges in a new land.

Director
Screenplay
Based on
Beeban Kidron
Tim Willocks
Amy Foster

A Hit With Audiences

While Swept From The Sea received mixed reviews from critics, as often happens, it struck a chord with audiences.

Have you seen Swept From the Sea?

See results

© 2017 Athlyn Green

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • DS Dollman profile image

      Darla Sue Dollman 9 months ago from Greeley, Colorado

      This sounds like my kind of movie and I love the specific details in your review. If I read a review, I want more than "I liked it," I want to know what the movie's about!

      I just tried to search it--I'd love to watch it, but it costs $13 to rent it on the internet--more than a movie ticket--and the film came out in 1997! So frustrating! I have it set so it records if it ever comes to cable.

    • Athlyn Green profile image
      Author

      Athlyn Green 13 months ago from West Kootenays

      You're welcome Bill. I enjoy movies that are multi-layered and speak to the human condition.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 13 months ago from Olympia, WA

      Oddly I've never heard of this movie, but you have me wanting to see it. Thanks for the review.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)