on the powerful short story Amy Foster by Joseph Conrad, Swept From The Sea
charts the passionate affair of a young servant girl and her immigrant lover, the sole
survivor of a capsized ship bound for America.
To everyone in her village, Amy Foster (Rachel Weisz) is different, shunned by her family
and her community. Yanko (Vincent Perez), washed ashore by a violent storm, is a stranger
in a strange land. These two isolated souls find themselves caught between their love and
the prejudice and hatred their passion has ignited.
Set against the backdrop of the craggy cliffs of nineteenth century
Cornwall, England, the film is an epic and tragic tale about courage, individuality and
the resiliency of the human heart.
"Perez invests Yanko with such truth and detail he grabs the
screen and calls it home."
"The film truly has an epic feel to it - not so much in that it sweeps across
locations, but instead passes through time and delivers a tragic drama... Vincent
Perez is competent as the wayward immigrant. Certainly looking the part and doing
a decent job with the accent, he manages to create an 'outsider' character with whom we
"This is by far her (Kidron's) most ambitious film, and she fills it with texture,
vitality, and romantic impulse...Weisz is a tower of strength, Perez
plays the noble savage sympathetically, and the trio of Bates, Ackland, and McKellen
offset the pinched communal fear."
Los Angeles Times:
"Amy is distant and strange, but we see her as a kind of nature girl, a pagan sprite
enraptured by the sea as the bringer of gifts most rare and wonderful.
Yanko Gooral (Perez) turns out to be the most unusual of those gifts. A
Ukrainian highlander who left home for America, he is deposited by fate at Amy's door.
When they meet, each has reason to consider the other an apparition, and there is a kind
of rare and unexpected eroticism in the gentle scene of her washing his wounds and
offering him food."
Critic Michael Medved:
"Weisz projects an appropriately other-worldly quality as a village girl reviled and
abused by her neighbors... French sex symbol Vincent Perez learned
Ukrainian to emphasize the character's fish-out-of-water status."
Critic Leonard Klady:
"Relative newcomer Weisz is the pieces indomitable spirit, resolute in the face
of crushing opposition. She embodies the role without artifice or guile. Similarly, Perez
presents his character as a man of the senses, a force of nature with razor-sharp
instincts and natural goodness."
"Weisz makes an attractive, appealing heroine and Perez a striking,
romantic hero cut from the same rough cloth as Heathcliff. Reminiscent of The French
Lieutenant's Woman, Amy Foster is strangely passionless yet beautifully shot
- from the
train journey which carries Yanko across the Ukrainian plains, to the slate-grey seascapes
of wind-lashed Cornwall."
John Hartl of Film Comment:
"Weisz plays Amy with understated spirit and
Perez easily conveys Yanko's manic energy."
"As the servant girl who has retreated into silence (and an obsessive love of the
sea) because of her dysfunctional upbringing, Weisz is absolutely winning, and Perez,
as the wreck survivor with an unfortunate Russian accent, is surprisingly
"It has a heartfelt, stirring quality and a visual panache that sets it apart from
many British literary
adaptations... And while these two are eloquently verbal, Weisz and Perez,
as Amy and Yanko, convey their parts with a striking visual presence, almost without words
(their tragedy comes from the fact that, at a crucial time, they can't communicate with
"The movie's success hinges on the gripping power of the lovers' relationship, and
the actors are superb... Perez, the French actor who made his American
film debut as the lead in The Crow: City of Angels, makes us believe Yanko is a
full of life, hope and idealism, even before he begins speaking English."
"Perez, a heartthrob who can actually act, is wonderfully winning as
Yanko; the appealing couple that he and Weisz form help make Swept from the Sea
genuinely romantic and involving."
" If we were to hold an intensity-in-movies contest, Perez surely
would win it with his blue-eyed stare.
The Sunday Telegraph:
"She (Amy) is regarded as 'a queer sort' by the ignorant locals, who duly regard
Yanko as a queer sort as well, but they're probably just envious because Perez
is so devilishly handsome he makes all the other men in the film look like inbred
Critic Louise Keller:
"Amy is the epitome of a romantic heroine - passionate, headstrong, compassionate and
loyal. She perceives her ultimate gift from the sea as part of her destiny. Strongly
counteracted by Vincent Perez as Yanko, the two manage to light up the
Critic Paul Fischer:
In the role of Amy, Rachel Weisz is magnificent. Not only a beautiful figure on screen,
but she so deftly conveys Amy's emotional twists and turns, and her inner strength. Vincent
Perez is also effective as the man who changes her life, while Ian McKellen is
striking as the harsh doctor.
San Francisco Examiner:
"I was impressed with Perez's ability as a Frenchman to speak
English with a believable Russian accent."