Backwards (2012) Review

Missed opportunities always lead to other opportunities.

Backwards is an endearing story about the unbreakable and enduring spirit of the team player. After missing the chance to be a part of the American Olympic Rowing Team, one woman determines to qualify for the next session. When she is slighted a second time due to an injury, the harsh road to reality and recovery may teach her to trust more than her love of rowing.

Writer and Producer Sarah Megan Thomas stars as Abigail Brooks, an Olympic-trained rower who never realized her goal of having the opportunity to row for the gold. Abigail spent her entire life preparing for her big shot only to learn that the best she could ever be was an alternate. She humbles herself and returns to her hometown where she becomes the coaching of a high school team.

The central premise of Backwards was born of Thomas’ days in college, where she was a rower. While a student, a member of her college team qualified for and continued onto the Olympic Team as an alternate. Exploring the dedication and commitment attached to such a feat played a great part in designing the overall theme of Backwards.

James Van Der Beek is Geoff. He works at the high school and offers Abigail the chance to have a job in town where she can instruct others on the subject she loves and holds dear to her heart. When their chance meeting opens the door to friendship, it’s Geoff who must be able to recognize the possibilities of what Abigail brings to the table. There is plenty to be learned from the contender who narrowly misses a goal. In addition to portraying the male lead, Van Der Beek also took on the role of Associate Producer for this film.

Backwards marks the first screenplay written by Sarah Megan Thomas and can be considered a labor of love. With a limited budget and the faith of people who believed in the story, the film went into production. The entire movie was filmed in twenty-three days. Some of the scenes most integral to the story, such as the rowing competitions, were often completed within just a few takes. Cast and crew were willing and able to go the extra mile for this effort which glorifies the courage of those who choose the path with heart.

Whereas, Backwards emphasizes diligence and persistence, it does so by maintaining a pleasant and upbeat balance with hard work and loyalty. The film sets a great example for camaraderie and humility. Working towards any goal requires unwavering dedication. Physical goals and challenges require a set and strong mental health in addition to dedication and endurance. This film is a sincere attempt to acknowledge the best parts of humanity and human nature, alike.

Abigail faces many choices when deciding how to rebuild her life after being forced to acknowledge that she would never be good enough to live her dream. Audiences will recognize the torment and indecision that come with readjusting and reconfiguring a dream deferred. Abigail pulls her life together by finding the ability to trust what is most important to her and sharing her gift with others.

Backwards is inspiring. There is a wholesomeness and altruistic integrity that makes it ideal for audiences from ages eight to eighty. It is the perfect way to spend an afternoon with someone who has the heart of a winner and the team spirit to match.