Inspired by Joseph Conrad's "Amy Foster"
To the world, Amy Foster (Rachel Weisz) is a girl who never smiles, but beneath her passive exterior, there is hidden passion. Amy is a pagan spirt, a collector of gifts fro the sea. Her world is irrevocably changed when the sea delivers to her the most beautiful and most impossible gift of all.
Yanko Gooral (Vincent Perez) is a passionate adventurer who has left his Ukrainian homeland in search of the new world - America. When Yanko is washed overboard by a murderous tempest he fmds himself a stranger in a hostile land. When he crosses the threshold into Amy's world, however, they form a bond too powerful to be broken by the hate and suspicion the ignorant masses of Cornwall, England, rain down on them.
Based on the powerful short story by Joseph Conrad, Swept From The Sea tells a passionate and vital story about the transformative power of love and the resiliency of the human heart.
Dr. Kennedy (Ian McKellen) comforts Amy Foster (Rachel Weisz).
Ian McKellen as Dr. James Kennedy in Swept From The Sea
|Amy Foster (Rachel Weisz) lives a mundane existence working
as a servant to the Smith family at New Barns Farm. Written off as a
simpleton by her employers and shunned for being different by the local
community, Amy is resigned to a life of quiet introspection. Even her
parents (Zoe Wanamaker and Tom Bell) reject her and see Amy as little more
than a burden and a curse, a blight on their existence.
But Amy's stubborn exterior belies a pagan spirit. A collector of things from the sea, Amy finds solace in her "secret world" — a shoreline cave filled with cast-off treasures where she dreams of a better life.
All of that changes when Yanko Gooral (Vincent Perez), a Ukrainian emigrant, washes up on shore. Yanko, who had been on his way to America, is the sole survivor of an overcrowded and ill-maintained ship which capsized in a storm. Struggling across the moors, he stumbles onto New Barns Farm - and into Amy's life, changing it forever.
Put off by his strange language and his filthy appearance, the local villagers brand him as an escaped lunatic, refusing his desperate pleas for food and water. Attacked and knocked unconscious, he is imprisoned in the farm's woodshed and left to live or die.
Amy seeks out the stranger despite instructions to ignore him. She has seen his eyes and into his soul and knows he means no harm. She brings Yanko food and water and cleanses his wounds. The two are bound forever by Amy's act of compassion, each finding kindred spirits in one another. After he recovers from his injuries, Yanko is taken in as an unpaid laborer by Mr. Swaffer (Joss Ackland) and his daughter (Kathy Bates).
When the small town is choked with the bodies of the hundreds of unlucky souls who did not survive the shipwreck, the villagers are shocked by the horror, but fail to see the cruelty they are inflicting on the disaster's sole survivor. Their hypocrisy is exposed by the local doctor, James Kennedy (Sir Ian McKellen), whose compassion toward Yanko marks the beginning of a devoted friendship.
Able to communicate at first only through the universal language of the doctor's beloved game of chess, Kennedy soon recognizes Yanko's intelligence and rich ethnic culture. As their friendship grows, Kennedy teaches the young emigre the English language.
Amy and Yanko begin a courtship which ignites the hatred of the community. The townspeople try to tear them apart and, at the instigation of Amy's father, their antagonism erupts into a violent and vindictive campaign against the young couple. Even though Amy is considered to be a simpleton, she is still one of them and Yanko is still perceived as an outsider within their closed society. Amy and Yanko fight against the opposition, refusing to give into the pressures applied by a society that never accepted them separately, much less together. Amy further inflames tensions by consenting to marry the young foreigner.
When Amy gives birth to a son, the new family's happiness seems assured, but a cruel fate awaits. In a moment of great need, Amy reaches out to her family and townspeople for help, only to be rebuffed again with hostility and hate.
In the face of despair, she finds salvation in the redeeming power of forgiveness, conviction and love.