Going for Gold
Kelli Berglund, Emily Morris, Terry Rogers
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….if you’re looking for something visually inspired, with a realistic representation of Australian teenagers, and scenes packed with jaw-dropping stunts and choreography, Going For Gold will not have you cheering.
At best, Going For Gold deserves a bronze medal. Whilst Clay Glen’s (Raising the Bar) latest teen flick provides insight into the emerging world of cheerleading in Australia, the South Australian made film is predictable and is ultimately nothing to cheer about.
Going For Gold follows Emma (Kelli Berglund), an American cheerleader who moves around the world frequently due to her father’s position in the air force. When her father is stationed in Adelaide, she joins the gymnastics team after an invitation from her neighbour, Hannah (Emily Morris). When local bullies Charlotte (Daisy Anderson) and Abi (Elysia Markou) get Hannah’s team disqualified from a gymnastics competition, Emma proposes that they take revenge by starting a cheerleading squad to beat Charlotte and Abi’s team.
Disney starlet Berglund (Lab Rats) leads the cast with a poised performance. She brings confidence and dedication to a role which is shadowed by a young and at times shaky ensemble of emerging Australian actors. Emily Morris as the bubbly friend is warm-hearted, although marred by questionable dialogue.
In fact, several of the performances are held back by the unrealistic dialogue. Going For Gold is replete with phrases and insults that millennials would never be caught saying. Occasionally, you can see the young actors struggling to stomach the jarring lines that they are delivering, which unfortunately reduces the authenticity of their performances.
If teenagers of today were to use the sorts of phrases and insults seen in the film, they would most likely be said via social media, and rarely shared face to face. However, there is almost a complete absence of social media within the film. This renders much of the story as out of touch with the impact social media has on communication between teenagers in today’s world. Its use would have had a greater, more realistic impact on the plot. Much of the film is wasted watching Emma and Hannah communicate with others in an old school fashion, for example, running around frantically as they recruit people for their squad. This is something which would be achieved via a simple text or Facebook post.
Where Going For Gold does succeed is with its refreshing Australian perspective on the world of cheerleading. American jocks are AFL players here. The suburbs of Adelaide also provide a pleasant and familiar setting for Australian viewers.
All in all, Going For Gold succeeds as family friendly Australian fare. However, if you’re looking for something visually inspired, with a realistic representation of Australian teenagers, and scenes packed with jaw-dropping stunts and choreography, Going For Gold will not have you cheering.