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Swallows and Amazons Review

Swallows and Amazons was originally a book, then a 70s film, and now it has graced the big screen again. Swallows and Amazons has had hardly any advertising coverage which seems odd for such a lovely little movie, I mean I only went to see it because it came up as a trailer before a different movie at the cinema. I wouldn’t be surprised if you haven’t heard of this movie, but, should you go see it? Definitely.


Set in the 1930s it follows the story of 4 children who go on holiday to the lake district with their mother and are allowed to camp out on the ‘undiscovered’ island in the middle of the lake with their boat, Swallow. On the island they find the Amazons, a ‘tribe’ of two young girls who also live near the lake. They fight it out to see who should really have founded the island.

This is one side of the story.

The other side is a story of Uncle Jim. A travel writer who has found evidence of nuclear explosives in Russia. Two Russian spies are sent to take him away for questioning as they don’t want their plans to be exposed. The children’s stories and the travel writer’s stories overlap in the most interesting of ways and the children have to fight to save Uncle Jim from a certain doom at the hands of the Russians.

The story is quite simple, easy to follow and a lot of fun. It’s a bit unbelievable but it’s fiction so it doesn’t have to be believable. The acting was a bit off sometimes, I mean they are children, but they actually did a very good job of getting that old 1930s feel. I found the dialogue to be clunky in places, however, but that was down to old time speech and how they would have spoken back then.

Another thing that annoyed me was that they had to say everything they saw. We, as an audience, would see a harbour and instead of leaving it at that they’d say ‘Look a harbour!’. Same with another scene where there is bunting in a town and instead of showing us the carnival, one of the children immediately says ‘Oh the carnival must be on today’. There was too much of this. The audience weren’t allowed to work out anything on their own, it was like we had to be spoon fed.


Besides the bad dialogue, the movie is stunning and definitely one I’d recommend. If you just need something light for a rainy afternoon this would be perfect because it has a great blend of a great cast (I mean Moriarty from Sherlock is in it!), great setting and a good little story. You do have to just remember that it is a children’s film so of course it’s going to be quite simple.

Have you seen Swallows and Amazons?

Until next time.

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