AWARD THIS! 2023 NOMINEE! It’s 2023, and ancient history is just that, ancient. In the feature film Support Group Olympus, writer-director Jimmy Francis wonders what happened to the Greek gods of old. Well, they’re living as humans in Sweden. Long story short, the “fallen” gods were banished from Mount Olympus, stripped of their power and influence, and doomed to live as immortals in the form of humans.
Our gang of gods includes Ares (Georgandreas Kalaritis), Hermes (Sandro Khafor), Aphrodite (Maria Karpathakis), Athena (Natalie Katsarou), Dionysus (Kostis Rampavilas), and Atlas (John La Briola). Only a few people know that the Greek gods still exist. One is Dennis (Jean-Claude Boeke), the gods’ trust fund executor. Concerned about their mental state, Dennis insists they meet for weekly Olympus support group meetings led by therapist Kara (Lina Sundén). If the gods do not attend, they will no longer receive their regular stipend. So, of course, they refuse.
As fate would have it, Poseidon (Stéphane Bertola) is hospitalized and has no insurance. Needing money for Atlas’ bill, everyone but Dionysus decides to attend the support group, which creates an exciting dynamic as no one believes a mortal human can truly understand what it means to be a god.
The slightly outlandish plot of Support Group Olympus would never work in America. It would star big-name actors and be treated like a vapid comedy. Instead, Francis keeps his story grounded. The film leans more toward the dramatic with brief moments of humor. These are ordinary people who were once immortal.
“…insists that [the Greek gods] meet for weekly Olympus support group meeting…”
The primary theme explores what it’s like for the omnipotent to be stripped of their omnipotence only to be left abandoned as mere mortals. They maintain their god-like personalities and arrogant demeanor yet are helpless to act upon them in any meaningful way. The issue is that none of them have yet to move on over the millennia.
The cast of Support Group Olympus is exceptional as their respective deities. Kalaritis takes center stage as Ares. The former god of war is constantly angry and always looking down on therapist Kara, questioning her every attempt to connect with the group. However, his hot head prevails in resolving all conflicts he faces. Kalaritis is quite believable in the role.
Hermes is the quiet one in the group and decides that now is the time to partake in the most human of rituals… dating. Khafor is very convincing. Dionysus is the most resistant to the idea of therapy. The god of wine and theater is the last holdout to accepting the fact that godhood has long disappeared in the rearview mirror. Rampavilas plays the role with the right amount of pathos. Another standout performance is Sundén as Kara. Sundén understands the therapist’s tricky role as the lowliest status amongst a group of high-status characters and must find a way to stand on her own in the group.
I found Support Group Olympus fascinating and fun in its exploration of the powerful “falling from grace.” What kind of person do you become when you lose everything? My only issue is that I wanted more depth. The story only dives two or three layers deep when I wanted it to go much deeper. At some point, a true rock bottom needed to be found for each god. As good as the cast was, I didn’t feel they played their roles big enough to truly feel like gods.
I’ll say it again, if Support Group Olympus was made in the United States, it would have been ruined with over-the-top Hollywood acting and production values. Indeed, La La Land would have bastardized this gem of a script. The benefit of not being lorded over by Big Hollywood is filmmaker Jimmy Francis is able to keep his story grounded as a way to explore an over-the-top tale of how the “mighty have fallen.”
For screening information about Support Group Olympus, visit the Wild Wind Pictures website. Support Group Olympus is a 2023 Award This! Comedy nominee.
"…keep his story grounded as a way to explore an over-the-top tale..."