Never save anything for the swim back

This is a clip from one of my favorite movies, Gattaca. If you haven’t seen it, Gattaca is set in the future where every embryo can be genetically engineered to be essentially perfect – free from any defect and given certain advantages in whatever area the parents choose. Vincent Freeman’s (Ethan Hawke) parents chose to have him without any such engineering. He lives his life with a heart defect and needing glasses, while his brother, Anton, is a perfect specimen.

Growing up together the brothers would swim against each other, going further and further from shore until one – invariably Vincent – gave up and turned back. Earlier in the movie there is a scene from the boys’ teen years where they challenge each other yet again, but this time is different. Every time Anton tries to pull away, there’s Vincent. Finally, Anton is exhausted and has to be rescued by Vincent. “That,” narrates Vincent, “was the moment that made everything possible.”

The clip I’ve posted is later on in the movie, and shows Vincent once again outperforming Anton. Anton wants to know how he does it – how he’s done any of the things he’s done in his life. “You wanna know how I did it? This is how I did it, Anton – I never saved anything for the swim back.”


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