|Index||5 reviews in total|
Good movie, with good acting, but a very scary look at how coaches are
allowed to treat the children under their care by the irresponsible
"stage parents" who care more about their kids "making it" than they do
about the kids themselves.
Swoozie Kurtz was wonderful, as usual! Great acting, going from a truly caring mom, to a pushy shrew, and finally back to a loving, responsible parent. Phillip Casnoff truly made you hate him! And Courtney Peldon is a very good young actress! And I can't say enough about young Aimee Walker...THAT girl is a REAL inspiration...not just a cute little girl looking pretty and turning flips, but a wonderfully strong human being! I agree with the reviewer who said that a better ending would have been for the mom who finally came to her senses and got her kid away from that maniac coach. And as to the reviewer who thinks "the ends justifies the means" (treatment that bordered on verbal abuse and a lack of regard for the health and safety of his athletes), I can only hope that he never has children....
This was meant to be a critique of a certain kind of gymnastic
coaching -"put the pressure on your players, so that they can better stand
up to the greater pressures to come in performing before large audiences",
but the movie was so fairly presented,that when I viewed the final result -
glorious display of energy, fitness, and sheer athleticism, by these young
girls, I certainly thought that the means justified the ends.
That end result being one young girl attaining her dream of athletic perfection, by dint of sacrifice, hard work, and enduring a harsh regime applied by a demanding coach,another girl sustaining a nasty injury, due to his insistence, with yet another youngster being removed from a tough program, very much against her wishes through her parents getting cold feet - if all soccer moms, hockey dads, and other responsible elders of sports-playing had this same attitude toward this coaching philosophy of being "As good as you can be", I would fear that our youth would grow to be not very good.
The cast was professional enough to make one hate the pushy coach - even though he was right - and identify with the guilt-stricken parents, as dead-wrong as I deem them. Altogether, a thought-provoking well-made absorbing film
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
A value: 6. B: 6.1 All of the actors were top-notch. Everything was
perfectly believable and very, very realistic. My problem was with the
plot itself and its execution (under the New Code, let us call these
the A values and the B values).
A value: This movie has the right idea: to show people that sports (and gymnastics in particular) is not all glitz and glamour. It shows the hard work that all gymnasts have to go through to become the elite, the girls that grace our television screens and amuse us for not even a month every four years. These girls come across caring coaches and those that border on (or completely cross) the lines of verbal abuse. However, every coach has to be tough to some degree. It is true that gymnasts have to work through pain and learn how to deal with high-pressure situations, because, if they plan on competing at all as Seniors, that is all that they are going to deal with.
B value: My problem is with the execution of this film. They only briefly touched upon Katie's problems and focused more on her mother. I think that we should have seen Katie a little more. While it was very, very good to watch the mother's slow descent from parent to cheerleader, we did not watch Katie's descent from enjoying the sport to seeing it strictly as a competition. We heard briefly about her diet and her pain, but it was not seen enough so as to make the viewer think of it as a problem. We need to see what is going on in Katie's mind because she is what really counts. The mother should be looking out for her, but the mother can only *correct* the problem -- we need to see what spawned the problem in the first place.
It is good for a made for TV movie and it is definitely worth viewing, but I, personally, do not see myself going back to it again.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Teddy Roosevelt once said, "Far better it is to dare mighty things,
than to take rank with those poor and timid spirits who know neither
victory nor defeat." This movie, on the other hand, seems to preach the
opposite notion: that it's better to chicken out, stifle your
Heaven-sent talent, and go nowhere in life...than it is to take some
kind of risk, like we all must do anyway.
In the end, that's what undoes "Little Girls In Pretty Boxes": the mother, for all intensive purposes, becomes just like the hated Coach Radkin; she simply pulls harder in one direction than he pushes in another. To put it another way, the movie "steps out of its landing" (so to speak) because the main characters EVADE--instead of CONFRONTING--their nemesis, and the conflict at hand.
Given the nature of the source material, in particular, wouldn't it have been better for all involved if Mom had gone to the Olympic Commission (and/or Sports Illustrated) with what she knew about Coach Radkin...and let THEM decide who was right about whom? Yet, instead of convincing her daughter what a monster Coach Radkin really is, Mom turns into a kind of monster herself: by simply yanking Katie away from him...and also from any chance of the girl's making it as a competitive gymnast.
"Little Girls in Pretty Boxes" leaves us with two burning questions:
1. Whatever happened to the other girls, who stayed in Coach Radkin's grueling training regimen--apparently with none of the problems which befell Katie, and the gymnast who gets paralyzed?
2. What kind of life will Katie have, in or out of gymnastics, with "another Greg Radkin" for a mother...and with a female coach whose training program was lackadaisical at best? Our young ex-gymnast seems doomed to wander from one career to another, with her dad and (especially) mom ripping her out of each one, as soon as perseverance is called for.
Was any of this intentional? Was it the point of that best-selling book on which "LGIPB" is based?
Rated this one 8/10, which for me is absolutely exceptionally as a TV
movie rating, but it was well written (consequent ending), well
directed (not too pathetic, as otherwise usual) and played more serious
and substantial than the mainstream TV stuff.
I liked Swoosie Kurtz and especially John Ashton as the parents, showing how perceptions can change during the development of a storyline surely being found like this in many, many average family environments.
Courtney Peldon did a good job as well but as I said above, I wonder what the marvelous Amy Jo Johnson has made out of it in Perfect Body (1997) (TV).
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