Boxing has Rocky, Baseball has The Natural, Football has Any Given Sunday, even Bobsledding has Cool Runnings, and now Rowing has Backwards directed by Ben Hickernell. Not only does this film add another film into the sports genre it also introduces the aspect of women athletes being portrayed in cinema. It is not something new, films like Bend It Like Beckham, Million Dollar Baby, and A League of Their Own have proven that women athletes in films can be successful but other than that there aren’t many of them out there. That was the motivation behind Writer/Producer/Star of the film Sarah Megan Thomas.
The film stars Sarah as Abi Brooks, a 29 year old hopeful to be on the 2012 U.S Olympic Rowing Team. After two failed attempts to gain a seat on the team she is forced to face reality that her dreams have slipped away and it may be time to look towards a different future. This isn’t made any easier as her mother played by Margaret Colin (Gossip Girl) only reinforces the idea that her dream is gone and it is now time to get a job. With little to look forward to, Abi moves back home where she runs into her ex-boyfriend Geoff played by James Van Der Beek (Dawson’s Creek) **side note** For a low budget film, the reason James took the role was because he really enjoyed the story and characters that Sarah had written. Geoff is now the Head of the P.E Department at their old High School and conveniently in need of a new Rowing Coach. Abi takes the job thinking it will be an easy transition but soon finds out it takes more than hard practices to be a good coach and leader.
The film is shot beautifully and the rowing scenes are just as intense as any sport depicted in film. Watching the film you can tell time went into planning out the plot and the characters. First timer Sarach Megan Thomas does an excellent job on all fronts. She does not just depict a paint by numbers sports film, the story relies heavily on the characters and their reactions to these situations. The cast is fantastic and Sarah holds her own amongst them. Sarah put a lot of effort into this film and the results definitely show; I cannot wait to see what she has to follow up with in the future.
2.5 out of 5