Released amidst the London Olympics hullabaloo, Fast Girls is a spirited, family-friendly sporting drama designed to excite us into an appropriately sport-themed frenzy. It may not break from the great tradition of sporting dramas and the tried and tested formula but nonetheless manages to keep you interested in the determined characters found within.
Shania (Lenora Crichlow) lives on a council estate with her aunt and sister and aspires to sprint for Team GB at the World Championships, with the help of wily part-time coach (Phil Davis). They go to the national trials where Shania impresses, beating number one Lisa Temple (Lily James). Lisa comes from a privileged background, her father (Rupert Graves) being the head of UK athletics and he expects results from his daughter.
Now a member of the team, Shania is thrust into the big time and the cutthroat politics of professional athletics. Relay coach Tommy (Noel Clarke, who also co-wrote the film) sees potential in her but cracks begin to show between Lisa and Shania which could scupper the team’s chances of a medal at the championships.
The difficulty with any sporting film is authenticity. How do you make the action look ‘real’? Wimbledon resorted to CG tennis balls to overcome the actors’ tennis deficiencies. Here, director Regan Hall chooses to use a mixture of fast-paced editing between feet and slow motion sequences of the actors mid-run. And for the most part it convinces.
As we approach the World Championship finale it becomes clear that the production hasn’t had a lot of money thrown at it, but it’s testament to the film and the definition of its characters that you end up rooting for the team as they line up to compete in the relay final. If the parallel tracks of the story are at times a bit strained, it’s a minor hurdle on the way to a solidly entertaining and uplifting finish.
Adam has awarded Fast Girls three Torches of Truth.