For those with on-screen careers their “history” is preserved through their performances. We watch them grow before our eyes and we can remember the first time we ever saw them. It is through that lens as well that makes it difficult to separate the person we watch from the person they are behind closed doors. Documentary director Harry Mavromichalis brings us into the life of academy award winner Olympia Dukakis with a very intimate journey. Showcasing the struggle she dealt with as a child and upon entering show business, her loving marriage and just living her life.
From the opening scene I knew this would not be a typical bio pic. The shots are up close and in your face; this is an unfiltered look into Olympia’s life. Her reaction to receiving a star on the Hollywood walk of fame is hilarious in saying “I don’t care. I appreciate it but…” Having achieved so much in her field at this point it becomes routine but other moments such as being the Celebrity Grand Marshall at the 2011 Gay Pride Parade stand out more. What stood out most about this film is how it steps back and allows Olympia to openly reflect upon her own life. There are moments in the film where she discusses pill addiction, thoughts of suicide and failure in being a mother. Unfortunately they stay as nothing more than fleeting moments with no follow through or mention of again. Like most of us we reflect on past events in our lives and how we could have done it differently; it is that commonality that any of us can relate to.
One of the shining moments throughout the film is the connection between Olympia and her husband, fellow actor Louis Zorich. Unfortunately Louis passed in 2018 but what the film shows is the incredible love these two shared for each other both professionally and personally. The film ends with Olympia visiting Greece with her children and grandchildren; it’s here where Olympia reaches a point of self-reflection. It is a special moment that closes the film but not the story of this powerful Greek woman who is able to invoke such emotion from her performances that she will be talked about for years to come.
3 out of 5
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