Review by Camden Ferrell
Olympic Dreams, the newest film that was directed and co-wrote by Jeremy Teicher, had its premiere at the 2019 South by Southwest Film Festival. While this movie may suffer from its own narrative simplicity, it is more than made up with a sweet spirit and a pair of extremely compatible leads.
This movie follows an Olympic cross-country skier and the dentist with whom she meets and befriends after she is finished competing in PyeongChang. This is an incredibly simple premise that really focuses on the character’s connection rather than an over-complicated plot. It has hints of Before Sunrise, but it feels original at the same time.
Teicher’s direction is generally agreeable throughout the film. He gives the actors room to express themselves and engage in natural movement. The film was also shot on location, so the film has a sense of authenticity that Teicher really makes lively in many scenes. He utilizes a simple style of direction to execute the simple story, and the movie is all the better for that.
The best aspect of this movie is its acting. This movie is led and co-written by Alexi Pappas and Nick Kroll. They have some magical chemistry, and there’s such a subtle charm to everything they do. They don’t overact or over-romanticize their scenes, it’s a very natural and engaging bond that they share on screen. This charm helps carry the movie through its slower moments, and it forms the emotional core that’s necessary to make this film work.
The movie carries some familiar but strong themes. We get to experience each of their own longings, fears, worries, and passions, and it’s often resonant. Most audiences will find a piece of themselves in these characters, and the script really helps give them realistic and captivating personalities. It doesn’t say anything super original, but it has enough heart to convey its message effectively.
One of the main flaws of this movie is how some sections can drag on significantly more than others. The simple plot of the movie means that there’s a lot of filler in certain scenes, and it ruins the momentum of occasionally. It’s not entirely off putting, but it’s definitely noticeable. It would have been nice to see more dialogue-driven interactions between Pappas and Kroll, but they still fairly sufficient time to interact.
Despite this, the movie can simply be described as sweet. It’s a harmless and totally adorable movie that will occasionally move you. It has some funny moments and it mostly balances it out with a sense of reality that allows this story to feel tangible.
Olympic Dreams is a simple yet effective film. It’s a fittingly cute movie for this Valentine’s Day. While it may feel a little slow at times and certain moments may feel familiar, this is a movie that is propelled by some great atmosphere and stellar chemistry from its actors.
Olympic Dreams is on VOD February 14th.