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Athlete A

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· 2020
1h 43m
Director Bonni Cohen
Starring Maggie Nichols
Genre Documentary, Sport

Filmmakers Bonni Cohen and Jon Shenk delve into the world of elite competitive gymnastics and the toxic culture within that allowed sexual abuse to go on for decades unchecked. This documentary focuses specifically on the gymnasts abused by USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar and the reporters who exposed him.

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One former gymnast says, "The line between tough coaching and abuse gets blurred." This may be what it takes to win gold at the Olympics, but is it worth the cost?


Screen Daily by Fionnuala Halligan

From the very beginning of Athlete A, Cohen and Shenk (Audrie & Daisy and An Inconvenient Sequel) visually confront the audience with the clear physical evidence that their documentary is about abused children and they never let that image fade away.


IndieWire by Kate Erbland

Through even-handed reporting and a series of emotional first-person accounts, Athlete A excavates one of modern sports’ most horrific abusers and systems. It doesn’t do that by being preachy or shrill, instead working from one key belief: It must have started somewhere. Hopefully, Athlete A can contribute to ending it for good.


The Hollywood Reporter by Leslie Felperin

Packaged as a standalone film, this fascinating and sensitively handled accounting shines a light on the abuse scandal that was exposed by the Indianapolis Star's investigative reporting into USA Gymnastics (USAG).


Variety by Owen Gleiberman

Athlete A is a testament to their perseverance, and to the courage of all those who stood up in court to face the man who had violated their humanity. But it’s also a testament to the obsession that gave cover to their abuse — to a culture that wanted winners at any cost.


TheWrap by Steve Pond

As with many of the other recent documentaries about abuse, it hits hard, making it difficult to watch without being both heartbroken and enraged by a system that, in the words of one gymnast, “would sacrifice our young to win.”


The Telegraph by Tim Robey

What’s striking about the film’s tone is its redemptive warmth. Though the details are chilling, it’s as if a cathartic space has been opened for these girls and their families to explain what they went through.

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