"In 1966, Indonesia, a 21-year old nation, abolished Communism."
Note the capital letters on both Indonesia and Communism. And nation instead of country. A sense of motherland still?
Injustices were done to the Chinese who lived there, yet 26 years later, a Chinese descendant is their hope for a champion in the Olympic games... and her name is Susi Susanti.
It's a badminton movie, about *see title*, starring Laura Basuki as *see title*, and it's... wholesome.
Sometimes backwardly simple, but in the end also surprisingly serious.
You enjoy the people. They feel almost characterized in their naivete sometimes, but when it's all over I realize that I really liked that about them. And who am I to think I'm smarter. I doubt I'd have a chance at an Olympic gold medal at all for starters. Even if they oversimplify somewhat essential plot elements, and turn a major portion of the movie into a typical training movie, where characters discipline themselves, and learn to deal, and get together, and start winning... they also capture the essentials in a way that's enjoyably easy to grasp, and when the turn that really matters finally comes along it hits harder, too.
I've only watched Indonesian movies for the action sequences before this, I think, but there's definitely more to the country than violence. There's love, too. And some badminton witticism you'll only catch if you know it.
I've played my fair share of this particular game too over summers of old - I still didn't catch it before the dad first spoke about it, but what wise words huh, and what a great re-introduction to this honorable old sport... same thing with tennis innit. It's all love. Love all.
I expected this movie would deal with hardship too - it wouldn't be much of a journey without it - but the kind of hardship they do deal with came in a different form than I expected it to.
It's not the in-training kind. It's a realer kind than that. And it's all about contrasts isn't it. The action movies they make show the dark side of their world; this one shows a brighter one. But it's not any less nuanced for it.
There's something special with Indonesian film.
Everything I've seen so far is... essential. Human nature. Life. How the world works. The bigger picture.
Somehow they manage to boil it down so well here too, even if all you thought you were getting was a basic Badminton movie...
Pardon my arrogance.
It's all love. Above all.
rated 4/5: fo shizzle