Arriving amidst a frenzy for all things Britannia and a slowly building excitement for the Olympics, it’s fair to say that Fast Girls is extraordinarily well timed. The film, which opens on Friday, stars a few fresh faced English girls as a fledgling relay team gunning for gold in the world athletics championships (not the Olympics to avoid confusing its viewers supposedly).
To be totally honest, you could write the major plot points on a napkin before it starts; they’ll have success, then fail & sever relationships then come back to clutch victory from inevitable defeat. In the case of “fast girls”it really doesn’t matter, it’s just such good fun. You could argue that the script (Co-written by Adulthood and Kidulthood‘s Noel Clarke) has got a lot of subtext about the class system, rising above you’re humble beginnings & being the underdog but actually, it’s just a damned fun film! It’s wholesome, (largely) family friendly, funny but still has a bit of fight to it.
Although only relative newcomers to acting, some of the fast girls show potential for a bright future in the industry. Especially Lenora Crichlow as Shania (our protagonist) & Lashana Lynch as Belle who is given all the best funny lines the film had to offer.
There is something about Crichlow which really surprised me, I imagined the main character, who comes from a broken family living in a council block, to be painted with a broad brush; either too brash or too victimised. She’s neither but instead achieves both nuances in a very balanced performance.
Despite the positives, some of the other characters are more one dimensional, particularly Lily James as a “stuck up daddy’s girl”. It’s hard to tell if it it’s her ‘one scowl fits all occasions’ job or the directing and the writing which should take the blame. It seems almost like she’s been landed with the task of being the white middle class enemy, strange that the only nemesis the film really offers aren’t from the opposing teams but from other social classes in their own team. It seems like Clarke is trying to subtly point to the fact that we’re all British and so all need to work together to be a success.
Unfortunately, the writing is full of clichés & stereotypes and has an unnecessary romantic element included only to make use of the handsome paper cut-out Bradley James. Presumably as eye candy for the female audience the film is bound to attract. Despite this, it is really hard to criticise such flaws because of the overwhelming sense of goodwill the film gives off.
It truly is a feel good film; you couldn’t help but leave the cinema smiling despite being fully aware of the flaws. It’s a classic case of only really noticing these problems afterwards, whilst it’s happening it sucks you into the cheesy but fun world. It reminded me very much of two other low budget British films, Wimbledon and Streetdance. They may be cheesy and run of the mill but are fun, breezy and somehow wonderfully British. And let’s face it, how can you say no to that?
Fast Girls is out in wide release from Thursday 14th June