Bursting out of the blocks in time for the Olympics comes fleet-footed British sports movie Fast Girls, an engaging tale of underdog triumph that makes up in energy and high spirits for what it lacks in technique.
Being Human‘s Lenora Crichlow plays the underdog in question, scrappy working-class sprint prodigy Shania, who butts heads with middle-class golden girl Lisa (Lily James) when she earns a place on the national female relay team. As the squad trains for the World Athletics Championships, the girls’ feud threatens to scupper their medal chances – to the dismay of sassy teammates Trix (Lorraine Burroughs) and Belle (Lashana Lynch). Can the pair overcome their differences in time for the big race?
As a film, Fast Girls has its own handicaps to surmount. The story, co-written by the ubiquitous Noel Clarke, is predictable and the romantic subplot, involving Shania’s budding relationship with physio Bradley James, is as skimpy as the athletes’ running gear. Then there’s the irritatingly blatant product placement and the shortcomings of the film’s modest budget, which leaves director Regan Hall straining to generate big-race tension by means of tight framing and choppy editing.
Yet thanks to the immensely appealing performances by Crichlow and her co-stars, these flaws fade into the background. Indeed, the girls’ sparky camaraderie on and off the track is so infectious that you’ll be rooting for their triumph well before the finishing line comes into view.
On general release from Friday 15th June.
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