7/10 Despite the abysmal Rotten Tomatoes rating and my awareness that this follows a standard sports movie formula, I couldn’t help but become invested in and enjoy this uplifting story. The film certainly has its fair share of problems. In addition to this being a film we’ve seen before as many sports films, like music biopics, follow a similar formula that gets repeated over and over again, there are other minor issues too. The film takes place in 1999 into 2000 and feels like it might be based upon a true story but we are never told that that’s the case. If this is a purely fictional story, then why not have it take place in modern day and if this is based on a true story, then why not say that onscreen or give additional information before the end credits begin to roll? There are definitely clichés and an overall familiarity and the direction feels amateurish at times, as if the director is making his first film (it is his second). Valid criticisms aside, I couldn’t help but enjoy this film way more than I should have. The acting is solid across the board with a strong mix of younger, upcoming talent (Charles Melton, Alexander Ludwig) and seasoned, experienced actors (Michael Shannon). The score may not stay with you long after the film ends but it did a solid job of adding to each scene in the moment. Despite the two hour running time, the pacing was strong as you will be entertained from start to finish. The film’s emotional aspects, while lacking some originality, are still moving and convincing. The film deals with issues of loss, heartbreak, death, guilt, etc. These heavy topics are well balanced with the hard work, dedication, teamwork and valuable life lessons learned by our characters. Our lead young actors have terrific onscreen chemistry and most are likeable people to root for. The romantic subplot provides some happiness to balance out the grimmer moments and was a welcome addition here. I know from an objective standpoint that this film is probably lower than a 7/10 but on this rare occasion I have to give in to my emotions and say that despite the formulaic clichés that we’ve seen a million times before and the confusion on if this is a true story or not, this is a motivating, inspirational, emotional film that if you enjoy sports films, is definitely worth checking out, despite its flaws.

#BoatsNRows / #BroBroBroYourBoat / #RudderIsland / #MeltonOurHearts / #RiverSail / #TheSeascapeOfWater

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