|Index||4 reviews in total|
I must confess that I think well of this movie simply because of its subject matter-my favorite figure skater ever. It's kinda hokey and idealized, and they didn't always get the facts straight about Oksana's life, but it's well-meaning and sympathetic. Any other movie of this quality, I'd probably give a lesser score to, but this one is kinda special because it's about Oksana. People who aren't her fans wouldn't like it, and those who have no clue who she is might find it decent but cloying. For Oksana fans, though, it's nothing short of required viewing.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I viewed this movie on the Hallmark World channel which should give you some idea of what to expect. If you want to see what Dnepropetrovsk and Odessa, Ukraine look like today, head to them in Google Earth and view some of the buildings. If you are lucky only one out of thirty will give you an image but if you do get some images you will be surprised to see a lot more color than you would expect with the buildings having warm pastel colors in Odessa. But consider the following things about the real person. Her parents were divorced when she was two with her father completely disappearing from her life. Her maternal grandparents died early in her life. Her mother Marina died of Ovarian Cancer when she was 13. Her coach in Dnepropetrovsk took care of her for a while but when he left and went to Canada she was sleeping on a cot at the ice skating rink. The skating coach Galina Yakovlevna Zmievskaya who used to live in Odessa took her in as one of her family and completed her training. She thought she was Russian Orthodox but didn't learn she had Jewish ancestry until almost ten years after she won the Olympic Gold Medal in 1994. She had to search up her father to find the truth about her ancestry. She has experienced more than a little of the real heartbreaks of life so expect the movie to be similar. If that isn't what you want then watch your blood, murder and mayhem which is what most people want today some place else. I must add I am not a skater.
This dramatised biography of Oksana Baiul provides wonderful skating. Anybody who has seen any of Soviet and post-Soviet reality will however be very disappointed by the pastel-coloured Disneyland SU where Oksana is supposed to have moved around, in freshly painted flats where some occasional folkloristic napkin or bedcover is exhibited probably in order to tone down the American-style surroundings. A particularly amusing detail is the outer door to the posh-looking block of flats with the shining door knob (no stolen bulbs here!). Not to speak of the extremely good taste and stylish clothes of all the very healthy-looking men and women of this fictional Ukraine. At least most of the names are more or less correctly pronounced. The subject would have been extremely interesting both from human and skating point of view.
If you're a skating fan (which I'm not) then I suspect that you, too, would have been disappointed by how little actual skating was in this movie. If you're not, then you're going to be disappointed, period. Every cliche that the sugar mill has ever turned out is in this movie; for example, like the girl crossing herself in front of the out-of-focus picture of Lenin in the background. Whatever else is on the other channels at the time is certainly going to be better than this monumentally insipid "feel good" garbage.
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