The Boys in The Boat Review: Navigating the Cinematic Waters of Underdog Triumph

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The Boys in The Boat Review

the boys in the boat review

“The Boys in the Boat” film, directed by George Clooney and adapted from Daniel James Brown’s nonfiction book, brings to life the inspiring story of the University of Washington’s underdog rowing team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The film is a visually stunning portrayal of the Great Depression era, captured in tones of burnished gold and deep, watery blue by cinematographer Martin Ruhe.

The narrative primarily revolves around Joe Rantz, portrayed convincingly by Callum Turner, a homeless student who joins the rowing team for a bed and a paycheck. The overarching theme is teamwork, emphasizing the submergence of individuality for the collective success of the team. The screenplay describes rowing as “more poetry than sport,” underscoring the importance of harmony among the eight rowers.

The film does have moments of poetic beauty, such as a scene where Joe seeks guidance from George Pocock, a designer and builder of racing shells. Pocock’s metaphorical description of the team’s unity with the racing shell as a “magical thing” adds a touch of mysticism to the storyline. However, the mystical elements occasionally border on cliché, reminiscent of motivational lines from films like “Karate Kid.”


the boys in the boat review

The acting is commendable, with notable performances by Hadley Robinson as Joe’s love interest, Joyce, and Joel Edgerton as the no-nonsense coach, Al Ulbrickson. Luke Slattery, portraying Bobby Moch, the team’s coxswain, also stands out, emphasizing the crucial role of navigation and steering.

Despite its solid performances and visually appealing cinematography, “The Boys in the Boat” falls short on substance. The film, though engaging, follows a predictable underdog-sports narrative, lacking the depth and thematic complexity seen in similar genre classics like “Chariots of Fire.” George Clooney’s direction adds suspense, but the overall impact is limited by the familiarity of the material.

In essence, “The Boys in the Boat” is a well-crafted, true tale that captures the spirit of the Olympic underdog story. However, it struggles to transcend the conventions of its genre, leaving audiences with a visually captivating yet somewhat formulaic cinematic experience during this awards season.


“The Boys in the Boat Review” explores George Clooney’s film adaptation of Daniel James Brown’s underdog rowing tale. Set against the backdrop of the 1936 Berlin Olympics, the visually stunning narrative focuses on teamwork, blending poetic moments with occasional clichés. Despite commendable performances, the film, while engaging, falls short in substance, offering a captivating yet formulaic cinematic experience.

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