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Still Not Too Late to Win a Gold Medal

Thank you, Amazon streaming, for Impossible Dreamers, which follows several 60-plus-year-old athletes as they train and compete around the world. It’s thrilling to see them do their thing as swimmers, speed-walkers and tango-dancers. It’s a wonderful example of the ways our bodies can surprise us, and a great argument against stereotyping elders as slow, doddering, and helpless.

Almost every one of the athletes profiled is amazingly fit and overcame some sort of obstacle– but before the filmmakers started their cameras. One of them, a spunky Unitarian minister who wants to box competitively, says she used to be fifty pounds heavier.

This viewer would have loved to see the before-and-after transformation captured. To an older person who has aches and pains and doesn’t know how to get from here to there, the athletes come across as lucky souls who won the genetic lottery, or who already know how to be athletic before they began the aging process.

No doubt, the film is inspiring—like an Upworthy video on steroids. It’s great to watch while you’re on the treadmill to lift your spirit, but the lack of narrative arc means it’s not worth hosting a movie night for.

–Amy Keyishian

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