Saturday, January 26, 2008

Personal Best (1982, Robert Towne)

I have been wanting to watch this film for a couple of years now ever since I read Easy Riders, and Raging Bulls and this film was mentioned in it during the final chapters. Due to the lack of a dvd I was never able to get a hold of it but as soon as this one popped out on dvd a couple of weeks ago I was quick to watch it.

Personal Best is a film about a group of women athletes competing and training in order to get into the U.S.A. Olympic team. The film seems to put this to the side and instead focuses more on the story of a young athlete falling in love with the older and wiser girl on the team. Of course, emotions get in the way and when the film resorts back to its overall story arch of these women competing to get on the U.S.A. Olympic team everything has a much more emotional weight to it when the final competition begins.

Personal Best makes me want to rewatch all of the films of the 70's and early 80's again since it reminded me of why I loved going through that era of film when I was starting out being a film buff. Personal Best contains all of the trademarks which I have come to love from this era of film. It contains extremely strong writing, performances, and direction which is subtle yet still with some style which is enough to catch your attention. It also takes its time to create its character and make a great character driven piece without falling into Hollywood cliches.

There is really not much more that I have to say about it. I really enjoyed it and particularly enjoyed Scott Glen's performance as the coach to the all women team. Robert Towne's writing is also top notch.

- ***1/2

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