Edward Asner, Laura Linney, Diane Ladd, Whoopi Goldberg
In the same vein as Albert Maysles' Iris, this sublimely intimate, fly-on-the-wall verité documentary tells a heart-wrenching story of a woman becoming her own woman, on her own terms, to assert a gigantic creative force into the world. Rebelling against her old world, panty-sniffing, suspicious Greek mother to assert her strong sexual drive, fighting the feeling she was "too ethnic" amid the Boston Brahmin at BU, and starting her own theatre company in New Jersey, instead of waiting for the phone to ring, Olympia Dukakis models how to live life with blazing courage. Throughout an engrossing story that seamlessly blends past and present, she opens her heart and exposes her truest self to the audience. The raw honesty with which Olympia leads us into the core of her self is what makes this film luminary. As fellow actors with whom she has shared the limelight Laura Linney, Diane Ladd, Whoopi Goldberg, and Austin Pendleton all testify, Olympia is "totally open and crazy", which is what turns out to be the marker of her absolute sanity. This intimate portrait of a working class professional, a scholar actor of intense intuitive power, and a woman beloved around the world, culminates on the steps of the Dukakis' humble ancestral home in Lesbos, Greece. Here we see Olympia's life come full circle both personal and professional. Incandescent and unforgettable, Olympia is a must-see documentary for anyone seeking to reignite their love of drama and their love of life.