Ping Pong

"Excellent"

Ping Pong Review


Most people in the West are only barely aware of world-class table tennis, but this documentary could create a new generation of fans. Actually, three or four generations. It's about over-80s champions who turn out to be great movie characters.

The filmmakers centre on eight competitors as they prepare for the 2010 World Championships in China. In Britain, weightlifter Les (89) and cancer-survivor Terry (81) compete in different divisions but are still arch-rivals.

Austrian-born Lisa (85) lives in Houston with her 65-year-old gun-toting husband Joachim; Inge and Ursula are both 90-year-olds from Germany; Rune (85) is from Stockholm; Sun Yong (80) is from Inner Mongolia; and the group's senior member is Dorothy, a strong Australian competitor at 100.

All of them have shelf-loads of medals and trophies. While coping with the physical issues of their ages, they face competition with hilarious good humour and a wide range of preparation techniques. Inge turned to ping pong to help her recover from a series of strokes, and it worked wonders. Sun Yong swears by his Chinese herbal remedies but still smokes and drinks. Terry faces recurring cancer with dry wit and determination. And with her serious Texan hairdo, Lisa is like an unstoppable Beth Grant character.

You couldn't make these people up, and the Hartford brothers clearly enjoy following their journeys to the championships. So by the time they're playing each other in the arena, we can't help but cheer them on. Ursula observes that "the young people are shitting themselves" in the face of the older players.

While talking to the camera, Lisa lets it slip that she was in the French Resistance during the war. And during his climactic match a breathless Terry turns to the cameraman and jokes, "Lend me your lungs."

With lively, skilfully intimate camerawork and sparky editing, the film captures the players' personalities and the energy of the matches. It's also accompanied by a terrific musical score that keeps the pace brisk, even though the filmmakers never cut away for a cheap laugh. Yes, the film keeps a smile on our faces all the way through, but it also inspires us to perhaps think about doing something with our golden years besides sitting around moaning about our aches and pains.



Ping Pong

Facts and Figures

Run time: 80 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th July 2012

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%
Fresh: 18 Rotten: 1

IMDB: 7.2 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Hugh Hartford, Anson Hartford

Producer: Hugh Hartford, Anson Hartford

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Advertisement
Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Elle Movie Review

Elle Movie Review

There's a boldly comical tone to this outrageous thriller that can't help but unnerve audiences...

100 Streets Movie Review

100 Streets Movie Review

A multi-strand drama set in London, this film is very nicely shot and acted, but...

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

Nocturnal Animals Movie Review

It's been seven years since designer Tom Ford made a splash with his award-winning writing-directing...

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

The Light Between Oceans Movie Review

With a sweeping, picturesque setting and emotive performances, this dramatic epic will appeal to moviegoers...

The Accountant Movie Review

The Accountant Movie Review

While this slick dramatic thriller plays with some intriguing ideas and themes, it never actually...

Train to Busan Movie Review

Train to Busan Movie Review

Leave it to the Koreans to reinvent the zombie horror movie and put a high-speed...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.