Thomas brings an insider's knowledge to the technical discussions and depictions in her first screenplay, but her performance is one-dimensionally earnest and “Backwards” lacks forward momentum, wasting time with conflicts that easily resolve themselves within minutes. Director Ben Hickernell (“Lebanon, Pa.”), knows how to shoot his hometown and captures the lushness of the outer neighborhoods, but the film is skimming over the top of its potential.
Those who will attend the Oklahoma Regatta Festival this weekend will experience the true excitement of this sport firsthand, something “Backwards” never truly captures. There is a “Breaking Away”-level drama to be made about rowing, but “Backwards” barely gets its oars in the water.
— George Lang
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Starring: Sarah Megan Thomas, James Van Der Beek, Margaret Colin. (Mild language)