The Mighty Rower

Sarah Megan Thomas in Backwards (2012)

When after years of dedication to the sport of rowing Abi Brooks (Sarah Megan Thomas) finds herself only able to make the alternate position rather than the Olympic first team and angrily quits the team. But after a period of wallowing Abi visits old friend and former boyfriend Geoff (James Van Der Beek) who is now the head of sports at the private school they both went to and he takes her on to coach the girl's rowing team. But having spent her whole life focused on being the best and working hard the girls she trains don't share the same enthusiasm. On top of that Abi finds herself back living with her mum (Margaret Colin) who would rather she found a handsome man and a high paid job rather than anything to do with rowing.

I have watched a couple of movies which feature rowing but it has to be said that it isn't a typical sport for a movie. Unfortunately that is the only thing which isn't typical about "Backwards" as whilst it throws some variations on themes into the mix for the most it is only a typical sports movie. With that said I had better say that because "Backwards" is so cliche I am going to give a spoiler or two away so if you don't want to know you know what to do.

James Van Der Beek in Backwards (2012)

So have you watched the "Mighty Ducks" movies, well if you have you know the set up where the former sports person ends up coaching a team and their methods don't sit comfortably with not only those they are coaching but others involved. That is the initial building block of "Backwards" with Abi expecting her rowers to be as determined as she is until she realises she needs to change her track slightly to get results. But "Backwards" doesn't stop there at one cliche as Abi gets a call saying they need her back in the team for the Olympics and of course she faces a big decision. I could go on but I will leave you something to wonder about.

The thing is that because "Backwards" is built around these sporting cliches it needs something more and sadly rowing doesn't do it. That leaves the acting and it is more a case of both Sarah Megan Thomas and James Van Der Beek have a certain appeal about them but their characters certainly don't get you that involved in their lives.

What this all boils down to is that whilst a rowing movie is a little unusual "Backwards" is in truth a by the book sports movie and as such hold little in the way of surprises. But it is watchable if all you want is some easy to digest sporting cliches and an appealing cast.

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