Review: The Novice (Tribeca 2021)

THE NOVICE (TRIBECA)

Boldly original and powerfully engrossing, Lauren Hadaway’s feature debut is the work of a cinematic visionary with a keen eye for style and suspense.

Determined to make it to the top varsity boat on her university’s rowing team, Alex (Isabelle Fuhrman) puts herself through obsessive and severe physical and psychological pain, stopping at nothing to be the best. Make no mistake, Furhman’s performance is absolutely stunning, an intense encapsulation of irresistible fixation and the tunnel vision that can result. Combined with Hadaway’s unique presentation with quick cuts, isolated visuals, and a complimentary soundtrack, The Novice consumes viewers and forces their investment. On another level, the film is an excellent entry into queer cinema, rightfully exploring Alex’s identity without ever making the film solely about that aspect of her life. Her relationships only further the impact of her steady self-destruction she becomes dangerously consumed by her goals.

It truly is hard to believe that The Novice is Hadaway’s debut as the film is a remarkably flawless explosion of emotionally compelling storytelling and tantalizingly enticing production. This is a sports film like no other and one that deserves all of the attention it is receiving.

Rating: 5/5

Photo from Tribeca

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