Slate’s culture critic Meghan O’Rourke, a former gymnast, posted the best review I’ve seen so far in The New Yorker:
“The Gabby Douglas Story” is not a good movie, but its flaws suggest what a great gymnastics movie would be. …
There is a great film to be made about the special challenges that élite female gymnasts face today, when the sport is continuing to evolve at lightning speed. Women’s gymnastics continues to be a sport of incredible paradoxes—a crucible for both sheer athleticism and delicate grace, in which gymnasts who can do full-twisting double-backs can also be penalized for having messy hair. …
… a better movie than “The Gabby Douglas Story” would have gotten at more of the texture of the everyday, the draw of the sport itself. There’s disappointingly little footage of Douglas learning new moves, practicing or perfecting routines, being given the small corrections that lead to mastering a big new skill like an Amanar vault. Anyone who has done gymnastics seriously, at any level—any girl who once had the bug—knows that the delights of competitive gymnastics are unmatched. Nothing approximates the discipline, control, clarity, grace, and focused play that gymnastics can bring into your life when it’s going well. One can dream of a film about an Olympic gymnast that captures some of the focus it took for her to realize her dream.
related – Variety – TV Review: ‘The Gabby Douglas Story’
If those strike you as too serious, check @SpannyTampson’s hilarious and profane recap – The Gabby Douglas Story.