Abigail Brooks (Thomas) has spent her lifetime trying to win an Olympic rowing medal, sacrificing friendship, love, and a “normal life” along the way. When she is named an alternate on the Olympic team she quits in haste. Defeated, Abi moves back home with her widowed, workaholic mother (Margaret Colin). Tension builds as Abi’s mother urges her to “move on” from the rowing life that Abi’s father, a coach, introduced her to. Unable to do so, but needing an immediate job, Abi seizes an open crew coach position at her alma mater, Union High. There, the head of athletics is her old boyfriend, Geoff (James Van Der Beek). Abi trains her high school rowers in an obsessive fashion, taking two girls, Hannah (Alexandra Metz) and Susan (Meredith Apfelbaum), under her wing. After the girls lose an important regional race, Abi reinvents herself as a coach, and, in the process, learns to have fun again both on the water and off.
I really enjoy an inspirational movie based on a true story. Even more so when the subject of the movie is involved creatively. Sarah Megan Thomas was completely hands-on from the screenplay, to starring in the film and even producing it. I find that fascinating, and a real accomplishment in it’s own. It’s not a perfect movie, and lacks a little in excitement. But, it’s a family friendly story that gave us something to discuss long after the movie. I like that. The movie at times is also rather sweet. We watched Backwards as part of our most recent family movie night, with our thirteen year old daughter. Though it didn’t inspire her to take up rowing any time soon, she did enjoy the movie as much as I did.
For those who were a teen in the 90’s, seeing James Van Der Beek off the creek, and in a whole new grown-up light is nice. He does a great job at playing Geoff, with no sign of Dawson anywhere.
This movie is definitively worth your time and money to rent or purchase. You also have the chance to win a DVD copy of Backwards here on my blog. Enter to win by using the Rafflecopter widget below. If you have issues, you can also enter by email at email@example.com. One winner will be chosen and contacted by email on February 11, 2012.