Fast Girls is the story of two rival athletes who have to learn to put aside their rivalry in order to do what is best for the country’s success at a major athletic competition. You may recognise this plot from the classic British film Chariots of Fire in which two rival athletes learn to put aside their rivalry in order to do what is best for the country’s success at the Olympics. Bizarrely Fast Girls is not set during London 2012 but rather in the World Athletics Championships taking place in London in 2011. I can only wildly assume that this is for petty legal reasons as the film’s release is clearly targeted at the Olympics-ready nation.
Our rival runners are Shania (Lenora Crichlow) and Lisa (Lily James), both competing in solo sprint races but forced together in the British relay team. With one living on a council estate and the other with her rich, divorced parents there is plenty for them to fight about and ultimately learn about one another. The plot is completely predictable and the film as a whole isn’t going to blow your mind but it is fun and by the end I felt genuinely uplifted. Crichlow is a good fit for the role and carries the film well, her character’s struggle against a less privileged upbringing making up the majority of the storyline.
Where Fast Girls really suffers is in the obvious comparison to Chariots of Fire. The former is slick and modern but with no real passion, flair, or bite. Where Chariots of Fire had stunningly visceral visuals, religious sub-plots, and a young Nigel Havers, Fast Girls has crisp images with no texture, a grimy council estate, and that girl from Being Human*.
Fast Girls is Chariots of Fire without the fire. So just Chariots then… which makes no sense. I wish I had more to say but the film has left me feeling pretty apathetic as it is frothy fun but little more than that. The perfect film for anyone excited about the Olympics and looking for some light entertainment.
Fast Girls is in cinemas tomorrow, 15th June 2012.