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Plot, Details & Awards

Personal Best

(1982)
130min.
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Plot & Details

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 male coach, Terry (Scott Glenn). While the homosexual element of the film is secondary to the endless shots of athletes in training, the critics latched on to the film's romantic angle, which may have sabotaged its chances for box-office success (the world was a different place in 1982). Personal Best was the directorial debut for Robert Towne, who was not to direct another film until 1987's Tequila Sunrise.

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