44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
All time favorite "jock" movie,
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Personal Best [VHS] (VHS Tape)
So, I'm having a party conversation with a lesbian friend and "Personal Best" comes up. She denounces it as a lousy portrayal of lesbianism. Yeah, I answer, but it is a great sports movie! And it is too. Personal Best is not just a great sports movie, but is also a great bildungsroman ("coming of age" movie). In it the lead character, Chris Cahill (Mariel Hemingway) is involved in a dysfunctional relationship with her father who is a coach. We see little of her family life. The movie revolves around her moving to a new family and getting new parents: Tory Skinner (Patrice Donnelly) and Terry Tingloff (Scott Glenn, who is, you guessed it, a coach). The problem is the tranference of parental relations is confused from the very beginning by a sexual relation between Chris and Tory. The waters are muddled even further when jealousy rears his head between the "parents," and between Tory and Chris who are set in competition against each other by Tingloff. Through it all, Chris grows up so that, when Tingloff comes on to her in a vulnerable situation, she staves him off (unlike Tory in a earlier scene) and begins to develop her own relationships and her own philosophy of competition. The moral of the movie is: To be competitive you don't have to be better than everybody else, just a little bit better than you were yesterday. You don't have to kill the competition, you can love the competition, but always remember, you are the competition.