From war-torn Syria to the 2016 Rio Olympics, two young sisters embark on a risky voyage, putting their hearts and their swimming skills to heroic use.
Two young sisters - Sara (Manal Issa) and Yusra (Nathalie Issa) are obsessed with representing their Syrian nation at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Their father is their coach and their mentor, and he drives them hard - but that might all prove to be for nought when a bomb comes crashing through the roof of their swimming pool and only narrowly avoids killing someone! Scared but determined, the family decide to enlist the help of their charismatic cousin Nizar (Ahmed Malek) and armed with some borrowed cash try to get from their home to Germany where they hope to find safety and continue their training. Thing is, they have no papers so after a brief flight to Istanbul, find themselves in the hands of the people smugglers who care little for their safety. Much of this interesting film is quite tough to watch, as it depicts the efforts of the three to beat the elements and the authorities to reach their goal - at times at quite considerable risk to themselves. It's all based on a true story so there is no actual jeopardy to their journey, but it is illustrative of just how perilous the whole process is; of how venal and exploitative some people can be of those in life-threatening predicaments and also of just how persevering the human spirit can be when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. It features a fine supporting effort from "Sven" (Matthias Schweighöfer) and offers us quite a well produced and paced observation on just how these two girls got through their ordeal. The photography is frequently intimate and that sometimes exposes us to the character traits of the girls that are less attractive to the viewer - but somehow that added to the authenticity of this compelling dramatisation that defiantly opens the eyes!