Personal Best

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Released 1982

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Movie Summary

Director:
Robert Towne
Released:
1982
Rating:
R
Personal Best is a 1982 drama about a group of female athletes struggling to qualify for the 1980 Summer Olympics. Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is a young and talented track and field runner. Her success on the track, however, is overshadowed by the difficulties and turmoil in her personal life. Though she is carrying on an affair with her no-nonsense coach, Terry Tingloff (Scott Glenn), she also enters into a lesbian relationship with one of her chief competitors, Tory Skinner (Patrice Donnelly). Looming over the entire enterprise is the fact that the United States has threatened to boycott the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow in protest of the Soviet Union invasion of Afghanistan. Though Chris strives to train as diligently as possible, her relationships with Terry and Tory constantly put roadblocks in her way, and the threatened U.S. boycott of the Summer Olympics causes her to wonder if there is really any point to continuing her training.

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Metacritic Score

  • 100

    Chicago Sun-Times Roger Ebert

    What distinguishes Personal Best is that it creates specific characters--flesh-and-blood people with interesting personalities, people I cared about. "Personal Best" also seems kno...

  • 100

    The Globe and Mail (Toronto) Jay Scott

    What advance publicity has been powerless to suggest is that Personal Best is an exceptionally well-crafted, thoroughly accurate, emotionally galvanizing piece of filmmaking, easil...

  • 63

    The Associated Press Bob Thomas

    The leads are convincingly athletic, the characters well drawn. Where director-writer Robert Towne stumbles is in his portrayal of the ritual of athletics. [4 Feb 1982]

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Themes

80s, Gay & Lesbian, Sex & Relationships