Golden Will: The Silken Laumann Story (1996)
Keep Rowing and Going
Forgive me but before watching "Golden Will: The Silken Laumann Story" I had never heard of Silken Laumann. In truth it isn't surprising as I am not a huge sports fan and don't think I have ever watched an entire rowing race so there is no reason to have ever heard of Laumann. But as I have come to discover some of the best movies I have seen have come from stumbling across a biopic of a person I have never heard of. Sadly as a movie fan "Golden Will: The Silken Laumann Story" is only ordinary and probably of more interest to those who row or who have followed Silken Laumann's rowing career.
Now for those who don't know, and I am sure there are many, Laumann is recognized as one of Canada's greatest athletes not only because of the medals she won but also because she came back from a career threatening injury after being injured during a training session. The injury and her fight to recover is of course a major part of the movie and it is amazing to think that she did manage to come back and be competitive.
But the injury is just part of the story and the first part of the movie focuses on her troubled family life with an artist mother who would clear off for long periods of time and then return, disrupting the harmony which had been found and putting demands on Silken's life. It certainly is not what you expect from a movie based on a sports star and whilst handled in a simplistic manner certainly helps provide some character depth and motivation.
But in a way the simplicity in the way that part of Silken's life is dealt with is what is wrong with the movie as every aspect of her life is dealt with in a simplified manner, failing to really do more than showing us aspects of her life. A scene where having had to quit running because of a stress factor she starts rowing with her sister shows the difference in them with Silken being more driven to push to the limits but we never get to see beyond that.
What this all boils down to is that "Golden Will: The Silken Laumann Story" is interesting as a biopic of a great athlete and certainly brings elements you don't expect from a biopic especially as a made for TV one. But it is only an ordinary biopic which whilst showing aspects of Laumann's life and her fight back from injury never truly delves beneath the visual.
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