Personal Best
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In 1982, there was a brief cycle of homosexual-relationship films, none of which were successful enough to form the basis of a trend. Producer/director/writer Robert Towne's Personal Best is one of the finest. It stars Mariel Hemingway and Patrice Donnelly as athletes participating in the 1980 Olympics. Growing ever closer during the training process, Chris (Hemingway) and Tory (Donnelly) fall in love. Up to this point, Chris has been "straight," thus has trouble sustaining the relationship with older Tory. Their relationship is counterbalanced with the attitudes held by their… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 77%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Personal Best is likable precisely because it is so unembarrassed."
‑ Richard Schickel, TIME Magazine
"This is a very physical movie, one of the healthiest and sweatiest celebrations of physical exertion I can remember."
‑ Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
"[VIDEO] Although screenwriter Robert Towne's directorial debut fell largely on deaf ears when it was released in 1982 "Personal Best" remains a powerful examination of high-stakes female athletes during the late '70s..."
‑ Cole Smithey,
"An unusual subject to get the Hollywood treatment though, and as such it should be commended, while Hemmingway is always worth catching."
‑ , Film4
"A frank, honest portrayal of the sacrifices of Olympic-caliber athletes. it is tough and uncompromising."
‑ Bob Bloom, Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
"Towne has a love of slow motion that's employed as if he's afraid you might miss one, rippling muscle. Worse than that, when people aren't exercising, they are often talking about exercising."
‑ Variety Staff, Variety
"Unless you're fascinated by all of the prettified slow-motion footage of Chris, Tory and the other women athletes, your eye is likely to wander to your watch long before the end."
‑ Vincent Canby, New York Times
"Endowed with remarkable performances, superb photography, and a clear vision of what matters to its characters, Personal Best is an underappreciated gem in a genre full of filler."
‑ Jeremy Heilman,
"Hemingway excels in a difficult and risky role."
‑ Dragan Antulov,
"A robust and adventuresome film that is both tough and sentimental in its portrait of Olympic grade women athletes."
‑ Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice
"The sort of nerve required to produce an excellent screenplay like Chinatown seems to have deserted Towne in this, his directorial debut."
‑ Derek Adams, Time Out
"The characters have a fullness and vitality rare in American films of that period, but Towne has so much trouble establishing information visually that the film emerges as choppy, confused, ill-proportioned."
‑ Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader
"There's no questioning its authenticity.... However, the movie tends to make its points early and then repeat itself unnecessarily."
‑ John J. Puccio, Movie Metropolis
"One of the best movies ever about competition, with wonderfully natural performances."
‑ Nell Minow, Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
"It's a quintessential girl's coming-of-age story, and writer/director Robert Towne saw that Hemingway's uncanny ability to play both impressionable and stubborn, ingenuous and ambitious, naive and wise, was perfectly suited to this drama."
‑ , Movieline
More reviews for Personal Best on Rotten Tomatoes