Backwards (2012) Poster


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521st Review: Rollocks....
intelearts12 December 2012
I really love sports movies - who doesn't? - the struggle, the competition, the training, the lift, and drama with that is great too. But Backwards is well-named, it really does have the genre backwards - it is mostly a snooze fest. I've rowed a lot and it is gruelling, tough, and ridiculous when it comes to how fit you have to be - don't really get that from this - it's too placid, inactive, and, honestly, frankly dull.

I cannot recommend this on any level- the script is dull, the plot both clichéed and weak, but really it's the acting that lets this down most - neither lead has any charisma at all, they both just are there.

All in all, this is a film that had a good idea to make a sports movie about rowers, like Varsity Blues, but fails to translate that passion into the script or up to the screen.
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not just a sports movie
ComedyDy1 March 2012
I have never been a big sports film person, but this one is very exceptional. A wonderful feel good film not just about the sport, but about how sometimes what we think we want may not bring us the most joy.

There are fantastic performances. James Van Der Beek is so charming as usual, and so impressed with Sarah Megan Thomas, who wrote, produced and stars!

The whole supporting cast is excellent: the delightful Alysia Reiner, David Alan Basche, Margaret Collin and the fantastic Glenn Morshower is awesome as the Olympic coach.

The film is beautiful to watch, the rowing sequences are breathtaking. Makes you want to row! Where can we see it? Is it doing festivals now? Hope this one is coming to a theater near all of us soon. Very soon!
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Don't miss this one!
Being privileged to see this film before its release, I can't wait for the premiere.

Sarah Megan Thomas, (author, producer AND star), and James Van Der Beek give excellent performances. Glenn Morshower (nice to see him in something other than military garb), is wonderful as the Olympic Coach. The entire supporting cast did a great job.

Being a "Philly" native, I really enjoyed the portrayal of this beautiful city. The rowing sequences are amazing!

Exceptional work in the filming, acting and directing (Ben Hickernell).

The film gives insight into what it means to be part of a winning team, the good and the bad. You will love it whether or not you are into rowing. It's a great story.

This is one not to be missed!
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A wonderful family film with an important message.
terry-berenson21 September 2012
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. The photography is beautiful and the story is a slice of life I've never seen depicted in a movie before. I've seen lots of movies about athletes coming to terms with real life, but not about the sport of crew. The rowing scenes are worth the price of admission, and all of the rowers are are beautiful to watch. As far as the characters go, the relationship between Abby and her mom started off very realistically and I wish the tension had continued because their story line seemed to drop off with no real resolution. Alysia Reiner is great as Abby's old friend, and I would have liked to see more of her. It's nice to see a movie where there is no gratuitous nudity or sex scenes.
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An entertaining and touching sports romance
Rebecca-S-Thomas12 August 2012
Backwards is a charming, upbeat story with heart and substance. Whether you're a sports aficionado, a fan of romantic comedy or a devotee of James Van Der Beek, you'll find something to love. Plus, it is just so refreshing to see such a solid female cast - led by the talented Sarah Megan Thomas in her big screen debut.

Backwards is "Bend it Like Beckham" for rowing. It brings excitement and dramatic tension to the often unappreciated rigors of this sport. After watching the exquisitely filmed racing scenes I now have a much deeper appreciation of the passion and commitment rowing inspires for so many young athletes. Coming so soon after the Olympics, this film reminds us of the sacrifices behind athletic accomplishment and the rewards of true sportsmanship.

The sports theme is only one of several draws. Abi and Geoff (Thomas and Van Der Beek) have great charisma in the movie. The coaching scenes between Abi and "her girls" bring you back to high school and the relationships there formed. Some of the best scenes put in stark relief how competition can strain even the strongest of friendships - and how teamwork can overcome even major setbacks.

Do see this movie. You'll laugh and maybe you'll cry, but mostly you'll leave feeling just a little bit better about life.
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nogodnomasters20 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Abi Brooks (Sarah Megan Thomas) has been trying out for the Olympics all of her adult life. At age 30, she has been selected as an alternate...again. She decides not to be the alternate and quits, returning to her upscale home in the Philadelphia suburbs. She lands a job at a private school as a rowing instructor from her ex-boyfriend Geoff (James Van Der Beek). She supposedly has trouble adjusting, but it look like she did just fine.

Abi bonds with her students and prepares them for an upcoming match when she suddenly gets a chance to be in the Olympics as a starter. She wants to leave for the Olympics, something that would be a major selling point for the school, but the movie makes her out to be a selfish individual who would rather piddle around as a once in a lifetime Olympic athlete instead of teaching rowing in high school.

Sarah Megan Thomas was all wrong for the part, lacking muscle tone and visible upper body strength. This is a movie to show your kids to let them know how much they ruined your life and dreams, so they better appreciate it.

It is supposed to be a feel good film, perhaps for teachers
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Stupid ending to a boring movie
themadzak12 April 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I travel a lot and end up watching movies on Netflix. You may know that Netflix is great for TV reruns, but not so great for movies. I end up watching a lot of independent movies like this.

This movie is a chick flick for women who like sports. The main character sacrifices her personal life and any sort of a career for her dream of winning an Olympic gold medal in rowing. After being named an alternate for a third time, she gets frustrated and quits. Her best friend, who would not have made the Olympic squad at all, replaces her as the alternate.

She gets a job at her alma mater, a private prep school (high school), as the new rowing coach. At this point the movie utilizes the typical sports movie cliché where the new coach turns things upside down and no one likes her. Eventually the coach realizes she's being far too tough on high school age girls, and changes her tactics. She takes the best two girls and makes them the national champion in the two-man event. Now it's off to Europe for international competition.

Spoiler alert: Up to now the movie was merely somewhat boring. Here is where it gets downright stupid....

Someone on the Olympic squad gets injured and will not heal in time. The tougher-than-nails Olympic coach comes to our main character and asks her to rejoin the team, not as an alternate, but as a first line rower. (And here is where the stupid chick flick emotional crap takes over.)

The prep school girls hate her for making the decision to leave for the Olympics before the European event. The athletic director, her boss and boyfriend, also says she's abandoning her responsibilities. When she rejoins the Olympic squad, her best friend hates her for coming back. If our main character wouldn't have quit, she would have been the alternate, and her best friend wouldn't have even been on the team. But, in typical chick flick emotional style, the best friend feels betrayed that she came back and took her spot, leaving her to remain as an alternate. In the end, our main character just quits the Olympic squad, gives her seat to her best friend, and returns to coach her prep school squad in Europe.

The first part of the movie sets up just how hard this woman worked for the Olympics. It shows how she makes physical sacrifices to stay in tip-top shape, how she has no friends, no love life, and no career all to make it to the Olympics. Then, after she gets the chance, she gives it up. We viewers are supposed to accept this would really happen?

The prep school girls and the AD boyfriend are selfish. An Olympic gold medal could set this woman for life. It could bring fame, endorsements, and high-paying coaching opportunities at universities like Yale. And we're expected to sympathize with the high school squad and believe that the coach is being unreasonable and abandoning them?

As for her best friend, the movie clearly shows how tough the Olympic coach is and how he cares only about winning and not about feelings. Our main character feels she got screwed over by being named as an alternate, but the coach made it clear he didn't care about feelings. So when she comes back, the best friend - the one who wouldn't even be an alternate if our main character didn't quit - feels betrayed, and we're supposed to sympathize with her, too? Even if she doesn't agree with it, her best friend should understand what the coach has been teaching the team for years: Results count for everything! Feelings and emotion don't matter!

I swear, if I ever met the person who wrote this movie I would punch them in the head.
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Inspirational Movie
Jendci22 September 2012
Excellent movie and great timing after the Olympics! I was excited to see a movie focusing on woman's sports for a change! Its great to send this message to little girls to get involved in sports and know they can be leaders. As everyone goes through a crossroads in their lives, I thought the movie portrayed a real life look at the decision making process in that and ultimately, trying to find happiness. The acting was great! I thought the rowing scenes were beautiful. What a great setting for a movie! I listened to a few interviews with the actors and was impressed to hear more about rowing and how difficult of a sport that it is to pick up. This movie is for anyone looking for a feel-good inspirational movie! I am happy to recommend this movie as it is appropriate for all audiences and can especially be inspiring to women and children. Most important is the lesson to enjoy the journey.
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