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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Take risks, and go for it.
Positive Role Models
Almost all the people in the film are Olympians, seen practicing in the background. Discussion that reflects the intense commitment needed to achieve and be the best. Olympians encourage Penelope, who didn't perform as well as she'd have liked. The two main characters present a template of social-emotional skills.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Plot revolves around a potential romance. Some flirting and kissing. Conversations about losing virginity. With no sexual implication, a young woman clearly sleeps alone in the nude, is shown waking up with her shoulders exposed under covers. She's seen later, still alone, wrapped in her blanket wearing only athletic underwear. Still later, she opens her jacket to show a tattoo, and her lacy bra is exposed.
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One use of "what the f--k."
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Products & Purchases
Considering how branding and endorsements are so intertwined with the Olympics, very few brands are actually shown (in case of Coca-Cola, the label is actually turned away from the screen). A joke is made about "sitting home, eating Doritos," but it feels more like how people speak than product placement.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Olympic Dreams is a romantic comedy starring comedian Nick Kroll set during the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The film, which takes place inside the official Olympic Village, was made as part of the Olympics Artist-in-Residence program and was co-created/written by and stars long-distance Olympic runner Alexi Pappas. It has cool behind-the-scenes footage, and everyone in the movie (aside from Kroll) was truly a part of the Winter Olympics. Sharp eyes will catch a bevy of Olympians in the background practicing, horsing around, and serving as supporting cast members. This is a "will they or won't they" romance: Kroll's character isn't sure whether he's still engaged or even in a relationship after his fiancée declares them "on a break." Parents will likely appreciate that he's morally conflicted about taking a new relationship beyond friendship when his heart is still committed to someone else. Iffy content is pretty minimal: There's a muttered "what the f--k" and a nongraphic conversation about athletes losing their virginity, and characters drink socially. Visually, there are a couple of nonsexual glimpses of Pappas in underwear, and it's implied that one character sleeps nude. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.