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Tribeca 2021: “The Novice”

Rating: 4 out of 5.

We all need a sense of competitiveness where we want to be first at everything. First grade, first one to finish the task. Getting the best feedback and awards as being the best of the best is something we all want to grow towards and make that dream come true.

“The Novice” follows Alex Dall (Isabelle Fuhrman), an exceptionally talented and enormously brilliant young woman. Dall works hard. And when I say hard, I mean with the full force of that definition. She decides to join the novice rowing team at her university led by Coach Pete (Jonathan Cherry). It happens when she overhears Brill`s (Amy Forsyth) words when she expresses her desire to get a scholarship if she manages to make it to the university’s varsity team. So now it’s Dall’s goal too, in a very obsessive way.

“The Novice” is not about who’s gonna make it to the university’s varsity team. Who is better or worse or who is well prepared or who less. It takes on a much subtle subject – the danger of competition and what it can do to someone who does not know how to slow down, take a breath, recalculate and change the approach. It’s clearly not about Alex Dall, and as we learn about her more, we realize she is far from being a team member. She sees herself only, her desires and her winning. Her mind is preoccupied with the competitive nature not realizing she begins ruining her own life at a pace that’s scary to imagine.

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