Celebrated Rhythmic Gymnast Margarita Mamum is training and competing in events leading up to the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio. She was at the top of the rankings the prior two seasons but has been struggling in this crucial year. Her teammate and friendly rival Yana Kudryavtseva is now on top and the darling of the Russian Federation trainers. Rita has to work through her fog to get her game back. She is backed by her personal coach Amina Zaripova but has to deal with gymnasts head coach Irina Viner-Usmanova who motivates through old-school Soviet-style terror.
Rita is competing in Stuggart at the opening working though her hoop routine seemingly graceful and athletic. But when she is done and the marks come in coach Amina tells her she must push past her limits and fight for herself. Then Ms. Irmina pounces accusing Rita of failing out of spite. Saying she only received as many marks as she got because the judges took pity on her kind-hearted eyes. Imploring her to keep going when she makes a mistake as she will still get marks on the next element from her own Russian judge. Rita retires to the locker room exhausted already beginning to prepare for the next day.
Director Marta Prus alongside camera work by Adam Suzin bring the audience into the intimate machinery of the vaunted Russian Athlete training system. It's harsh, ruthless downright cruel but does get results. Rita undergoes extreme psychological abuse being told that she is fat when she loses or that she soon will be covered by dirt dust and moss. As Rita is being tormented her performances look good and judging by the audience reaction podium worthy.
Over the Limit is a rare behind the curtain look at the ultra competitive world or rhythmic gymnastics. Each athlete has to fend for themselves. They are backed by a coach and a team but it's up to them to push through sort out the constructive criticism from the petty to bring home the gold medal. Its a fascinating study of how much one young woman can take and still break through to deliver that performance on the day.
*** 1/2 Out of 4.
Over The Limit | Marta Prus | Poland / Germany/ Finland | 2017 | 73 Minutes.
Tags: Rio Olympics, Russian Olympic Team, Hoops, Clubs, Ribbon, Ball, Elements, Training, Competition.