Swimming Home (2024)

Joe (Christopher Abbott) and Isabel (Mackenzie Davis), Swimming Home, directed by Justin Anderson, 2024, (Tribeca Festival)

Starring MacKenzie Davis and Christopher Abbott, between them we watch a increasingly estranged couple, potentially towards the end of their relationship, try to enjoy a vacation featuring a young woman enamored by Abbott’s character.

General Information

Film Length 1 Hour 39 Minutes
Date Released (Film Festival – Tribeca Festival) June 10, 2024
Distributor Tribeca Festival
Director(s) Justin Anderson
Writer(s) Justin Anderson
Based On Work By Deborah Levy
Genre(s) ComedyDrama
Content Rating Not Rated
Content Information
Dialog Cursing
Violence Nothing Notable
Sexual Content Nudity
Miscellaneous Drinking, Smoking, Depiction of urinating
Characters and Cast Members
Character’s Name Actor’s Name
Joe Christopher Abbott
Isabel Mackenzie Davis
Kitti Ariane Labed

Plot Summary

Joe is a poet who hasn’t produced much, if anything, in years, and Isabel is a notable war correspondent who is still active in her field and is in and out of Joe and their daughter’s life. The freedom they give one another, but also some sense of stability, has allowed their relationship to last this long, but with the introduction of Kitti, so comes the question if what both have settled for may no longer be enough?

Cast and Character Guide


Some may argue that Joe is a poet who has reached the part of his career where teaching might be more fruitful than him trying to eke out a new release. This might be why he is also so sully.

  • The actor is also known for their role in “Sanctuary.”


Isabel, with being a war correspondent, seems to love a sense of danger, rebellion, and freedom in her life, which might be why she is still with Joe. It doesn’t seem to be their kid, who appears to have been created for Joe than due to any maternal drive. But as Isabel ages and Joe starts to lose what initially attracted her, there comes the question of whether she may decide to leave Joe and be married to her work instead.


Kitti claims to be a botanist when we meet her, but in the paradise that Isabel and Joe are renting, there are rare opportunities for her to prove whether that’s true or not. If anything, she focuses more on learning about Joe and connecting with his daughter, and while you may think this would rile up Isabel, it doesn’t. She fights for Kitti to stay, which definitely raises an eyebrow.


Our Rating: Mixed (Divisive)

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The Intrigue of Kitti

Kitti is an immensely strange character. From her often walking around completely nude to her sudden relationship with Joe’s daughter to pushing him to talk about his childhood, at times, it is hard to fathom if she is real or not. Yes, Isabel talks to her, and she is recognized by people outside Joe’s family, but there is something trippy about “Swimming Home” as a whole in a way that, even though drinking is nothing notable, and there isn’t significant drug use, Kitti doesn’t seem real.


As noted throughout our coverage of “Station Eleven,” there is something special about Mackenzie Davis. She has the look, the vibe, which makes it very easy to both want to lean into expectations, yet also give her room to explore the character since she has a habit of subverting being generic. With Isabel she continues this because, almost every decision Isabel makes or has made leaves you with questions.

Considering Joe’s history, why leave him with a woman who seems enamored with him? Why is she with Joe, why did she have a child, and why is a former professor of hers on this family trip? Their daughter is firmly a teenager, so she doesn’t need a babysitter. There are so many questions, but, as Joe notes, part of the appeal is the mystery, and not having access to her mind, feelings, and motives draws you in and immensely compensates for Joe pushing you away.

Low Points

The Scene Draining Performance of Joseph

With seeing Christopher Abbott twice last year, once on screen in “Sanctuary” with Margaret Qualley and then via a live performance in “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea” with Aubrey Plaza, I figured him and someone like Mackenzie Davis would be an excellent combination. The problem is, this isn’t a film when it is just him and her, and he gives absolutely NOTHING as Joe.

There is no charisma, energy, sense of urgency, just nothing. He drains any scene he is in and makes what is only a 99-minute movie feel so much longer. Add in that he is very reserved and avoids Kitti’s inquiries, which could allow you to get to know him further, and it leaves you dreading his scenes. Even when Joe and Isabel are having marital problems or she is being playful, Joe is such a black hole that you are left questioning why he even came on this trip if he wasn’t trying to have a good time?

On The Fence

Isabel and Joe’s Friend and Daughter

This is the type of film where it seems the existence of a daughter is purely to show that, at least once, the lead characters had sex. Beyond that, she doesn’t really bring much in the way of value to the film. Then, when it comes to Joe and Isabel’s former professor? Why is she there is a serious question to have. She isn’t watching Nina and doesn’t seem to be having a vacation unless you count be flirting with the driver, and beyond questioning why Kitti is sharing space with everyone, she doesn’t say or do anything noteworthy.

I’d even say, between Joe, his daughter, and the former teacher, it pushes you to wonder what the book may hold and whether it brings out more of these characters, or did Justin Anderson flesh things out more than Deborah Levy did with the source material?

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Swimming Home (2024) Movie Review 15
Joe (Christopher Abbott) and Isabel (Mackenzie Davis), Swimming Home, directed by Justin Anderson, 2024, (Tribeca Festival)

Movie title: Swimming Home

Movie description: Starring MacKenzie Davis and Christopher Abbott, between them we watch a increasingly estranged couple, potentially towards the end of their relationship, try to enjoy a vacation featuring a young woman enamored by Abbott’s character.

Date Released: June 11, 2024

Country: United States

Duration: 1 Hour 39 Minutes

Author: Amari Allah

Director(s): Justin Anderson

Actor(s): Christopher Abbott, Mackenzie Davis, Ariane Labed

Genre: Comedy, Drama,


When it comes to “Swimming Home,” it is a film that leans more towards being artsy and making a movie for the passion of it than seeing that you have something with commercial capabilities or that can resonate with a general audience.

  • The Intrigue of Kitti - 81%
  • Isabel - 83%
  • The Scene Draining Performance of Joseph - 66%
  • Isabel and Joe’s Friend and Daughter - 74%
User Review
0/100 (0 votes)


  • Isabel
  • The Intrigue of Kitti


  • Isabel and Joe’s Friend and Daughter
  • The Scene Draining Performance of Joseph

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