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

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

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.