Film review: THE WILL TO FLY from ‘Built For Speed’

Aerial skiing is one of those sports where many watch with their heart in their mouth expecting the competitor to land in a horrible mangled heap. As the film The Will To Fly reveals, these fears are justified as hideous accidents happen all too frequently.

The film documents the career of Australian aerial skiing champion Lydia Lassila as she battles bone-crunching falls, agonising injuries and the pressures of being a professional sportswoman and mother on the way to the Sochi Olympics.

The film follows her trajectory from rambunctious teenager battling out with the sports legends Jacqui Cooper and Alisa Camplin to her reign as the sport’s established superstar. It’s no surprise that being an aerial skier in Australia has more than the usual number of obstacles, one being the fact that we have very little snow.

The success of any sporting film can be measured by the extent to which it can interest people who do not have an established interest in the sport. As someone who has barely set foot on snow and takes little interest in the Winter Olympics I found this chronicle of Lydia’s career engrossing.

There’s palpable tension as Lydia desperately tries to overcome brutal knee injuries to qualify for the Olympic final in Vancouver in 2010. The film also elicits a few audience tears as Lydia begins to feel the stress of separation from her little boy who is a natural born comedian. Her courage and determination to keep competing are phenomenal.

The film does go on a little long and tends to repeat itself but it was enlightening to learn about a sporting star who receives so little mainstream recognition.

Nick’s rating: ***.

Genre: Biopic/ documentary.

Classification: G.

Director(s): Leo Baker, Katie Bender.

Release date: 10th March 2016.

Running time: 95 mins.

Reviewer: Nick Gardener can be heard on “Built For Speed” every Friday night from 8-10pm right here on 88.3 Southern FM.  Nick can also be heard on “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly Film Show” podcast.


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