When Jake Fischer a former high school swimming champion enrols with the US Coast Guard on the “A” School programme he is about to be taught some very hard lessons not only with his training but about life, love and loss with legendary rescue swimmer Ben Randall as his instructor.
The Guardian has firmly been a guilty pleasure film for me since first seeing it on its cinema release back in 2006, in what felt like an updated version of An Officer and a Gentleman I was just fully taken in by it all plus my love for Kevin Costner certainly helped. I have therefore watched it many times over the years and eventually getting round to reviewing it!
Jake Fischer a former swim champion in high school comes across with the wrong attitude to begin with when he sees the times on the wall for the pool based swimming as the records he wants to totally smash. Considering he states this and then finds out his instructor Ben Randall is the one who holds all of those records was not getting off on the right foot.
Randall was a legend when it came to being a rescue swimmer and was not happy being put on as an instructor for the latest candidates. Being extremely brutal in cutting people instantly from the programme, but with good reason behind his madness is that if they cannot do something in a warm pool then they have chance at all in the sea.
Even though Ben is extra tough on Jake it is obvious that they will reach a point of really getting alone with one another and in the end helping each other with the issues they have in their lives as well as everything else. Jake has a haunted past and cannot get away from the accident that occurred and sees being a rescue swimmer as a way to help save people. Ben cannot come to terms with losing his edge and his wife Helen as well who had recently moved away from him, he knows nothing out of the sea.
Those small emotional moments are very good and quite frankly one of the best speeches comes from Maggie who works in the bar, who tells her that she has lived, loved, danced, sang and sweat and screwed her way through a pretty damn good life. I always find this part inspirational as we might have some very tough times but in the end as long as we do so many things then that is what makes a difference.
I know it is not the best received critically but I really don’t care, I was taken in by this film on the first viewing and actually was sobbing in the cinema! Performances from Kevin Costner and Ashton Kutcher were both fantastic and the way they bonded together was a joy to watch. It might be predictable but I did not feel that lessened the film for me, as I mentioned earlier one of my favourite guilty pleasures for sure.