I’ve never been a huge fan of sports. The only sport I’ve ever paid attention to is tennis (I played it in high school) and soccer – but only when FIFA comes around every four years or so, and partly because I like to ogle at the hot players.
Despite all that, however, I absolutely love sports movies. Remember The Titans, Bring It On, this one Bollywood movie with Shahrukh Khan called Chak De! India about an all-female field hockey team. These movies aren’t simply about sports and competition; they’re about teamwork, unity, and friendship. And those are themes that I can get on board with. At its core, that is what sports and competition encourage, but presented in movie format – it’s a whole different experience. (Sometimes, sports in real-life get plagued with too much competition and devolve into being all about money, politics, and fame.)
In Fast Girls, Lenora Crichlow of Being Human fame plays professional sprinter Shania Andrews, a newcomer who recently qualifies for the World Championships, and is consequently invited to join Great Britain’s relay team. Noel Clark, the writer of the film whose credits include the 2006 film Kidulthood and 2008 sequel Adulthood, plays Tommy – the team’s coach.
On one hand, Shania is received warmly by most of the team – especially veteran runner Trix (Lorraine Burroughs) who has yet to obtain a gold medal and sassy, flirty Belle (Lashana Lynch). But renowned athlete Lisa Temple (Lily James) isn’t so happy about Shania joining the team since, ever since the qualifying round, she sees her as a rival.
As we learn early on, Shania isn’t from a rich family like Lisa. Her parents are noticeably absent and she lives at her aunt’s place with her elder sister (Tiana Benjamin) who has a tumultuous relationship with her boyfriend. Their drama often interferes with Shania’s own life. She finds solace in mentor Brian (Philip Davis), who plays both coach and friend to Shania.
Meanwhile, while Lisa is ambitious and cutthroat in her own right, she’s also being held to impossibly high expectations by her father – played by Rupert Graves from BBC’s Sherlock. Lisa appears cold, kind of bitchy at first – but we learn throughout the course of the film that much of that is because of the pressure she places on herself to please her father and make him proud.
The love interest comes in the form of the team’s physiotherapist, Carl (Bradley James). He and Shania have an instant connection, but their budding romance is stopped short by a rule that forbids athletes from having personal relationships with the staff. Carl wasn’t a particularly interesting character and his and Shania’s romance was a bit bland, but thankfully it doesn’t take up too much screentime.
It’s an enjoyable film, precisely the “feel-good” movie that the poster and official synopsis suggests. It’s hindered by the fact that some of the relationships aren’t fully developed and that character growth feels rushed at times. It’s a movie to take in at face-value, however. If you’re looking for something light-hearted and fun, with plenty of girl bonding and sports scenes to boot, then I definitely encourage you to watch Fast Girls.