Synopsis by Mark Deming
A middle-aged man gives himself the challenge of a lifetime in this comedy drama from the U.K. Frank (Peter Mullan) has spent most of his 55 years working the same job in the shipyards of Glasgow until he's fired after business tapers off and technology makes his position unnecessary. While Frank tries to put on a brave face, he has no idea of what to do next or what sort of work he should find. Frank's embarrassment gets much worse when he applies for unemployment benefits, only to discover his sister-in-law Angela (Jodhi May) is working behind the corner. As Frank's anxiety grows worse, he begins having panic attacks, leading to sympathy from his wife, Joan (Brenda Blethyn), and son, Rob (Jamie Sives), which only makes him feel more humiliated. One of Frank's few respites from his troubles are his regular visits to a nearby community swimming pool, where he does laps with his pals Eddie (Sean McGinley), Norman (Ron Cook), and Danny (Billy Boyd). One day, one of them jokes about the possibility of swimming the English Channel, which is only 21 miles across at its narrowest point near Dover. However, Frank doesn't think the idea is so silly, and begins training to make the journey; while at first his family and friends think he's gone mad, his plans give him a drive and a sense of purpose he hasn't had since losing his job.