Leander High School's online student-run newspaper

The Roar

Leander High School's online student-run newspaper

The Roar

Leander High School's online student-run newspaper

The Roar

Get the Facts Straight: SAG-AFTRA and WGA Strike
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Francesca Kent
Francesca Kent
Photojournalist
Olivia Straus
Olivia Straus
Creative director

“The Boys in the Boat” Movie Review

The+Boys+in+the+Boat+Movie+Review
Ben Bailey

Swing.

It’s a noun, something achieved. A near-perfect, viciously rare harmony between rowers. A cadence of bodies moving flawlessly in time with each other, with their shell, with the water.

George Clooney’s latest movie, “The Boys in the Boat,” falls just shy of this quintessential rhythm. Premiering on Christmas Day of last year, this historical film tells the true, heartwarming story of the University of Washington rowing team as the underdogs step into the spotlight to compete against unparalleled adversaries.

At its heart, “The Boys in the Boat” is an uplifting story of nine young, down-on-their-luck boys as they search for something richer than coin amid the ruinous years of the Great Depression. Based on the life story of Joe Ranz (Callum Turner), first documented by author Daniel James Brown in his novel of the same title, the movie tells the elusive history and Hollywood treatment of the University of Washington Rowing Team after eighty-six years in obscurity.

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Disappointingly, the potential of each role and scene feels unrealized by the script. Between every character, both crewmates and coaches, there is a camaraderie made clear by the actors, though this brotherhood is seemingly developed off-screen; scenes meant to reveal the bond between boys appear unfinished. Similarly, the script, and its surprising lack of dialogue, holds the actors on a very short leash, giving them little opportunity to truly act. This would-be flaw is barely saved by Turner’s clever use of microexpressions, giving the viewers an understanding of Ranz’s thoughts without them ever being vocally expressed. And, simultaneously, talent is abundant within every harrowing scene, specifically in performances by Bobby Moch (Luke Slattery) and Don Hume (Jack Mulhern), whose boundless emotions, the good and the bad, are tangible through the screen. 

Of course, the film would never have been half as attractive without the enormous attention to detail. From the absolute accuracy of each costume to the meticulous nature of the shots, every detail skillfully moves the audience through time so that the present is forgotten.

While the movie isn’t one for the history books, the retelling of these long-forgotten boys and their unimaginable feats, is. Despite its imperfections, the touching story justifies a 4 out of 5 stars; perhaps not a film to see in the darkness of a theater, but undoubtedly one to be appreciated for its rawness.

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