TV Streaming Reviews: Athlete A, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story Of Fire Saga & Military Wives

IN DEPTH: Athlete A explains how USA Gymnastics allowed sexual abuse to flourish for 20 years.

IN DEPTH: Athlete A explains how USA Gymnastics allowed sexual abuse to flourish for 20 years.

ATHLETE A

Netflix

FOR most Australians the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games are remembered fondly.

So the revelation that then 18-year-old bronze-medal winning US gymnast Jamie Dantzscher was molested while competing at the Olympics by her national team doctor, Larry Nassar, feels particularly horrifying.

In fact much of the archival footage of exultant crowds and beaming female gymnasts takes on a sinister new meaning while watching Athlete A.

The true-crime documentary unpacks the USA Gymnastics scandal that engulfed the sport in 2016 when the Indianapolis Star published allegations that Nassar had sexually abused Maggie Nichols, 15, during medical examinations.

More than 370 victims would come forward to allege they were molested by Nassar over two decades beginning in the late '90s. In 2018 Nassar was found guilty and sentenced to more than 200 years.

What makes Athlete A so riveting is it establishes the environment that allowed Nassar's crimes to flourish. USA Gymnastics, desperate to replicate the Eastern Bloc's success, turned to controlling Romanian coaching couple Bela and Marta Krolyi.

The Krolyis' brutal win-at-all-costs culture and focus on pre-pubescent athletes helped marginalise gymnasts and stymied complaints about Nassar. Athlete A also sheds light on how disgraced ex-USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny failed to forward allegations to police and even attempted to allegedly destroy evidence.

Most importantly Athlete A provides the human face of one of sport's greatest scandals and it's more powerful as a result.

SINCERE: Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams in Eurovision Song Contest.

SINCERE: Will Ferrell and Rachel McAdams in Eurovision Song Contest.

EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA

Netflix

WHEN trailers emerged of Will Ferrell kitted out as a futuristic Nordic viking singing Eurotrash, I thought this film would either be a childish car wreck or a hilarious romp.

Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga is definitely the latter, but more. Indeed, the musical-comedy could be Ferrell's best movie since Talladega Nights and Anchorman in the mid-2000s.

Anybody that's watched Eurovision knows parodying the event is akin to making fun of Trump supporters. Where Ferrell succeeds is he both parodies and honours Eurovision.

Eurovision Song Contest tells the story of Icelandic songwriter Lars Erickssong, who dreams of winning Eurovision. He and his bandmate, Sigrit (Rachel McAdams), are Fire Saga, a cheesy synth-pop band who struggle for acceptance in their small hometown. After Iceland's finalists for Eurovision are blown up at a boat party, Fire Saga advance to the finale.

McAdams is the real star of the film as she plays Sigrit with charming naivety and her vocal performances surprise. There's several hilarious live performances and song contests with previous Eurovision stars, but unlike past Ferrell films, it never succumbs to cheap gags at the expense of the story.

WARM: Kristen Thomas Scott in Military Wives.

WARM: Kristen Thomas Scott in Military Wives.

MILITARY WIVES

Stan

ANYBODY who's watched enough war films, knows the politics within armies can be as brutal as the battlefield. Comedy-drama Military Wives explores the inner-workings of the UK home front - where rank dictates - after a real-life rag-tag bunch of army spouses form a choir while their husbands are deployed in Afghanistan.

The choir is led by Kate (Kristen Thomas Scott), a bossy colonel's wife, and the chilled Lisa (Sharon Horgan). Both actresses deliver quality performances and their passive aggressive skirmishes make lively viewing.

Unfortunately as the choir finds success and is invited to perform at the Royal Albert Hall, the film takes on a familiar underdog story which director Peter Cattaneo (The Full Monty) has explored previously.

However, for those craving feel-good fun Military Wives commands attention.