Tracktown Review
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In order to excel as an athlete—to rise above the others in your sport—it takes dedication, determination, and a whole lot of training. But in the sports drama Tracktown, a young track star gets a glimpse of what she’s been missing during those extra hours of training.

Tracktown follows Olympic hopeful Plumb Marigold (Olympic runner Alexi Pappas) in the days leading up to her final Olympic Trial. After a tough qualifying race, Plumb is told that she needs to take a day off to recover—but, having dedicated her entire life to running, she has no idea how to take a day off. Instead of staying home, relaxing and elevating her strained leg, she wanders through town, viewing life from a completely new perspective. And she ends up spending time with Sawyer (Chase Offerle), who makes her question her strict training regimen.

Co-written and -directed by former Olympian Pappas, Tracktown gives an insider’s look at the life of a young athlete. Plumb’s world is one of motivational quotes, workouts, and carefully planned meals. She sleeps in an altitude tent and eats leafy greens like most people eat potato chips. She has little or no interaction outside her team, and it’s painfully clear that she’s rarely been allowed to make any decisions for herself. And, as a result, she’s just a little bit...odd.

There’s something so lovably awkward—and even a little bit tragic—about Plumb. At 21, she’s sacrificed her childhood, her teens, and her crazy college years to her quest to be the best. She doesn’t know how to talk to people outside her small community of runners. While that social awkwardness can be a bit uncomfortable at times, it’s definitely genuine—and it’s endearing, too. And her often aimless wandering through town, seeing how other twenty-somethings live and interact, provides an interesting contrast to the structure and discipline of her own life.

The story here is nothing remarkable. It’s simple yet quirky and a little fluffy, with some humor, some clumsy romance, and some random, underdeveloped storylines (especially where Plumb’s absentee mom, Rachel Dratch’s Gail, is concerned). But while it isn’t an especially memorable film, the cast of eccentric characters makes it charming.

Tracktown isn’t destined for sports movie greatness, but it’s an often adorably awkward look at the lonely life of an athlete—and it’s a promising film from a pair of up-and-coming young filmmakers.

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