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Parents' Guide to

Olympic Dreams

By Tara McNamara, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 11+

Romcom has cool behind-the-scenes access but weak story.

Movie PG-13 2020 85 minutes
Olympic Dreams Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 1 parent review

age 16+

Hollywood Variety says "offbeat charmer is an artful mix of documentary-style realism and wistful romanticism.

The first movie ever made in the Olympic Village, this offers a behind the scenes look at the experience of the 99% of the athletes who don't medal. Visually the film is terrific. The Common Sense review that points to a weak plot misses the point entirely. This is not intended to be an action packed sports movie but rather an insightful look at what it takes to pursue a dream, and what happens after you actually get there. Its a good movie to enjoy with an older teen.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say: (1 ):
Kids say: Not yet rated

The fifth collaboration between Olympic long-distance runner Pappas and director Jeremy Teicher (her husband) isn't great entertainment, but it's still fascinating to watch. The couple conceived Olympic Dreams as part of the Olympics Artist-in-Residence program, which gave them rare behind-the-scenes access to the 2018 Olympics. In fact, this is the first fictional feature film to ever be shot inside the Olympic Village, and it was done with only a three-person crew: Kroll, Pappas, and Teicher. The trio served as director, camera, audio, script supervisor, grip, lighting -- everything. Athletes who were competing in the 2018 games were recruited to cameo (Olympic skier Gus Kenworthy turns his scenes into a pivotal supporting role, and he's fantastic). And with Pappas co-writing, the story offers insights into the emptiness and doubt an athlete can feel once the event they've trained for their whole life is over.

While it's certainly a feat to pull off a film of this caliber without a support crew, certain elements are noticeably lacking. For instance, the audio mix is off, and the music often overpowers the dialogue, making it hard to hear. Plus, it's clear that the script was more of a bullet-point outline and that Kroll and Pappas are making up their lines on the fly (and not especially well). Penelope has depth, but her limited acting ability doesn't translate it effectively. Elite athletes may recognize the loss Penelope feels once she's completed her goal, but to a regular person, her nonstop lamenting may come off as whiny and insecure. Kroll doesn't deliver the laughs we expect from a comedian of his experience, and the story is lacking. Olympic Dreams' characters are at a crossroads emotionally and in their careers -- they're drifting. Unfortunately, so is the film.

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