Sports movies have different angles to them like most genres. They can be comedic or they are serious. A lot of the time they can be inspiring. Similar to I, Tonya, Slalom is a serious look at how someone trains and is driven to succeed in a given sport.
Noeé Abita played a young fifteen-year-old girl with aspirations of being an Olympic downhill mogul skier. Her mother puts her into an academy that focuses on her ability as a skier while also helping her with school work on the side. The ski instructor played by Jeremie Renier is very hard on all the boys and girls in his academy. When he finds out Abita’s character is such a great skier, he focuses more of his energy on her. She becomes his prize pupil to no surprise to her friends and classmates.
Films that have this kind of narrative, sports or otherwise, can be tough to watch. The viewer, a lot of the time, puts themselves in the shoes of the athlete, boy, girl, man, or woman, in question. They feel for what this person is going through. In the case of this young lady, it’s a lot. She doesn’t have it easy. She’s being driven to succeed, but it taking a toll on her, her academics, her relationship with her mother, and her friends. Being great at something such as skiing sometimes makes you push away those that matter to you most.
This film takes a turn I didn’t expect though and that is the thought process of a teen girl. How they can get infatuated with somebody such as a boy, an actor, or a musician. Abita’s character does just that and it has an adverse effect on her. She goes into a shell mentally, but not physically. She still competes at the top level at skiing her moguls. This information was a very good twist in the story that made it not your usual sports drama. It gave it some depth and heart.
Charlene Favier, a relative newcomer to American audiences because she’s a French director does a lot of good with the script and actors in the film. She’s made this story believable even though some of the things you’re watching are unbelievable. This story is very good and the actors portray their chapters very well. It’s a story people can believe is happening because we’ve seen such thing as this happen by watching the news of first-hand accounts of abuse by parents and or coaches in the past.
The film also looks gorgeous as well. Having to film mountain ranges can be easy but trying to film men and women on them can’t be that easy. Favier makes it look effortless. The cinematography inside of the rooms and apartments looks great as well. It has a moody look but the lights in the various locations help make the film look amazing. Sometimes she uses moonlight to light various scenes and they look great. This film is shot so beautifully.
All the actors in this film are fine, but the two that stand out are Abita and Renier. They are both terrific and without their performances, this film wouldn’t succeed. They bring both sides of this overbearing coach and innocent pupil to life very effectively. This story could happen in any country, city, or state let alone the mountains of France. Abita is a revelation in this film and I want to see her in more films today.
Slalom is a very good sports film with great acting from its two leads, Abita and Renier. The cinematography, though a little different, is very beautiful and atmospheric to the story being on-screen. The story and script that is being performed on screen is the key that makes this film work. It’s a realistic story people can understand because it’s happened before and sadly probably will again.
Dan Skip Allen
Founder/EIC disappointment media