CIFF Capsule Review: Olympia

McKenzie Chinn has been a rising star of stage and screen in Chicago for a while now. Olympia, which she wrote and produced, could be the breakout she needs to go to the next level. The film deals with romantic relationships, artistic integrity, and loss as the main character transitions into her 30’s.

As a writer, Chinn has a flare for getting to the root of emotion without over-explaining things. As a performer she finds a balance that avoids melodrama and delivers something that feels real and relatable. In the capable hands of director Gregory Dixon (making his first feature), her story reflects one with which a lot of people can empathize.

The city of Chicago takes center stage as the movie sets scenes on the river walk and shows beautiful, wide shots of downtown from different angles. It makes the city feel big, but not impossible. It’s a city full of small communities, and Olympia feels like hers is falling apart.

Her sister is married with a kid, her best friend got a job in New York, and her boyfriend’s company just announced they’re moving to Cupertino. With her other in the hospital fighting cancer and her own desire to be an artist instead of settling for a regular day job, Olympia is overwhelmed by the decisions she must make in her relationships and career.

Olympia is a smart and honest look at life during a hectic time filled with change. It’s about trusting yourself and being willing to make a big change to find your own happiness.

The film plays at the Chicago International Film Festival on October 15, 16, and 19. Tickets can be found here.