Parents' Guide to


By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Olympics docu has brief language, abuse and war references.

Movie NR 2013 109 minutes
First documentary poster

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It's impossible to dislike anyone involved in this documentary that celebrates the sporting endeavors at the 2012 London Olympic Games. However, First does struggle to weave a coherent story from its various strands of sporting excellence. Writer-director Caroline Rowland comes from a sporting background and was involved in two films supporting London's successful Olympic bid. Which may explain why, in truth, this feels more like a promo reel for a race that has already been run -- literally, in some cases.

Even with a running time close to two hours, there are simply too many stories here to manage much more than a "before" and "after" profile of the various competitors. Mostly this is comfy, heartwarming viewing rather than providing any real insights into what actually powers world-class athletes. Although listening to judoka Majlinda Kelmendi discuss the personal and professional hardships that she's suffered as a result of war in her native Kosovo does a lot to underline how the Olympic Games brings people together in the best possible way. Sometimes it really is the taking part that counts.

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