Yes, it’s a shameless Olympics cash-in. But as flagwaving fluff goes, this comedy-drama about a young sprinter from a London council estate is a likeable enough feelgood film, played with heart by its young cast. And unlike the real thing, you can put money on a happy ending with shiny medals all round for Team GB.
Lenora Crichlow is Shania, a sprinter who’s training on a knackered track with a shopkeeper coach, and who out of the blue qualifies for the British squad, beating posh Lisa (Lily James – you can tell she’s a mean girl by her swinging ponytail). The rivalry between the two intensifies when they’re forced to train together on the relay team for the World Athletics Championships (Olympics logo too expensive, then?). Can the pair overcome their differences to pull off the baton handover they’ve been botching? What do you think?
The target audience is clearly those teenagers who piled in to see ‘Kidulthood’ and ‘Streetdance’ so the script is all attitude and gobby put-downs, some of them pretty funny. Here’s Shania’s bitchy sister giving her the once-over before she leaves for a swanky fundraiser: ‘You’ve got Primark written all over you.’ Some of the girl power stuff is a bit wincing and it’s never totally convincing, but with charm and buckets of energy, you’ll forgive it. What’s more, while this isn’t a film about race, the leads do happen to be mostly black or mixed race. Nice to see black women centre screen for a change… how depressing to even notice.