OLGA – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

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Olga is the story of a 15-year-old Ukrainian gymnast preparing to compete in the European championships, with an eye on the Olympics beyond. The year is 2013, and Olga (Anastasiia Budiashkina) has just landed in Switzerland, home country of her deceased father, at the Swiss national team’s training center. The adolescent drama that ensues is as you’d expect: Olga is the new kid, and her French isn’t great, which makes it more difficult for her to figure out how to fit in. And as an outsider hoping to land a coveted spot on the competitive roster, Olga’s arrival inevitably stirs up some animosity and resentment, especially from team captain Steffi (Caterina Barloggio).

Olga is a fictional character, and her story is invented, but it is set among real, momentous events, the enormous, months-long protest in Kyiv’s Maidan Square, the pro-Europe, let’s-join-the-EU uprising that would eventually see the corrupt president Viktor Yanukovych fleeing the country and the ushering in of a more democratic Ukraine. Continue reading…

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MaryAnn Johanson

MaryAnn Johanson is a freelance writer on film, TV, DVD, and pop culture from New York City and now based in London. She is the webmaster and sole critic at FlickFilosopher.com, which debuted in 1997 and is now one of the most popular, most respected, and longest-running movie-related sites on the Internet. Her film reviews also appear in a variety of alternative-weekly newspapers across the U.S. Johanson is one of only a few film critics who is a member of The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (the Webby organization), an invitation-only, 500-member body of leading Web experts, business figures, luminaries, visionaries and creative celebrities. She is also a member of the Online Film Critics Society. She has appeared as a cultural commentator on BBC Radio, LBC-London, and on local radio programs across North America, and she served as a judge at the first Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Film Festival at the 2003 I-Con, the largest SF convention on the East Coast. She is the author of The Totally Geeky Guide to The Princess Bride, and is an award-winning screenwriter. Read Johanson's recent articles below. For her AWFJ.org archive, type "MaryAnn Johanson" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).