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Personal Best [Import]
It takes a lot to win. This movie is usually considered a classic of lesbian cinema, and that's too bad: its true sensuality lies in powerful erotic associations with running and the sheer pain of competition. The film opens with a memorable close-up of sweat dripping on tarmac, an early glimpse of a visual style which evolves throughout the picture into almost pornographic slow-motion sequences of high jumps, shot puts, and running legs.
The story follows a young runner (Mariel Hemingway) from a clueless start in the 1976 Olympic trials through a vexed affair with her mentor-competitor (Olympic runner Patrice Donnelly) to a final, triumphant qualifying race for the boycotted 1980 Moscow games. The human elements are told in an almost documentary style, giving an honest, complicated look at the blossoming of friendship into love against the near-military backdrop of world-class competitive sports. Hemingway and Donnelly can act, and their drive to win is compelling, both on the field and in their personal lives. But what really makes the film worth watching are the races--stunning images, beautiful editing, and the timeless drama of athletic endeavor. --Grant Balfour --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
One thing about "Personal Best" that has, I think, inhibited its recognition is the fact that nobody much has really seen it for what it is. Coming out in 1982, a year after "Chariots of Fire" had taken North America by storm (I've never figured that out yet), "Personal Best" was labelled as a track-and-field film. It also was a new sort of shocker, so the Lesbian theme got a lot of play, and, indeed, one reviewer headed his piece "Chariots of Desire". Its resurgence today is what's apparently "cult status" as a Lesbian film, although a cultist in 2008 would probably remark on the absence of raunch.
I spotted in 1982, and saw even more clearly today, that the film has a nice Californian theme - expectations, how we handle other people's expectations, and how we turn them into competitiveness. It's really the story of Chris - how she outgrows her father's expectations, Tingloff's expectations, and even her lover Tory's expectations - to take control of what she really wants for herself, an Olympic pentathlon place. The end (BIT OF A SPOILER) is wonderful in the process, with Chris persuading the injured Tory to forget what's expected of her and go for the victory she too wants for herself.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Personal Best is a great Olympic movie. A blu-ray version sounds like a terrific idea because this movie is terrific to see on blu-ray when it comes out as soon as possible.Published on May 25 2013 by Kevin Barton
I liked the movie when I saw it in the early 80s because of the break through "love" scenes and the sports theme. Read morePublished on July 15 2004 by Linda Levi
I can see why this movie is on the list of favorites. It was very moving and showed the extreme emotions that love causes. I would highly recommend it.Published on Jan. 23 2003
Let's see: early on in the movie Mariel Hemmingway does a nude scene as a shy 15-year-old being seduced by the 35-year-old lesbian who got her stoned. Read morePublished on Jan. 4 2003 by Don Schenk
So, I'm having a party conversation with a lesbian friend and "Personal Best" comes up. She denounces it as a lousy portrayal of lesbianism. Read morePublished on June 17 2000 by J. C. Woods
Whether you viewed this film when it first appeared in the '80s or today, you cannot help but get the feeling that you are right there w/Tory (Patrice Donnelly) & Chris (Mariel... Read morePublished on July 8 1999
This is a film about competition in sports and about the love/sexual atraction between two women. The scenes that capture the more difficult moments in sports competition (the... Read morePublished on May 15 1999