Liz’s Review: ‘The Song of Sway Lake’

The Song of Sway Lake has the class and reminiscence of Dirty Dancing in its music and style. Only, this story is one of family dynamics and the desperation to feel loved and understood across three generations. It centers around a grandson who has plans to steal a treasured and incredibly valuable jazz record from his grandmother’s famed lake house. The snag in the plan comes when his coconspirator becomes infatuated with the matriarch. The plot rolls out like a beautiful novel. Issues of class, racism, ambition, and acceptance all feature heavily in this lovely film. It’s not pretentious or preachy. Phenomenal performances from every single lead (which I consider to be six, including a voiceover role). With the likes of Rory CulkinMary Beth Peil, and the late Elizabeth Pena, there is not a loose thread in this elegantly woven tale. I would be remiss if I didn’t specifically point out the performance of Robert Sheehan as Nikolai. He is a firework opposite Culkin’s brooding Ollie. Their chemistry is perfection. Peil’s radiant presence on screen forgives the awfulness in her character’s flaws and Pena, ever the master, anchors the entire story with a quiet force. The Song of Sway Lake is like a long lost melody of the times, both good and bad. With stunning cinematic choices, vintage style score, and one of the most creative final credit sequences of late, writer/director Ari Gold has given us a lovely end of summer gift.

Now Playing at Cinema Village in New York

About Melissa Hanson

Melissa Hanson aka Dial M For Melissa - Managing Editor / Podcast Producer - Growing up, Melissa’s favorite destination was always the video store and would agonize over whether to watch something new or to rewatch a favorite. Things have not changed. Follow on Twitter @DialMForMelissa

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