Backwards" is obvious at times, but what makes it stand out are the details that Thomas imbues in her character.
Corny and predictable, sure, but Backwards will appeal to a few junior oarswomen around Seattle.
A movie whose main virtue was its honesty ultimately lands in a place that feels canned and unsatisfying. But on the way there, Backwards isn't so bad.
| Original Score: 2.5/4
Although this modest indie may not make a huge splash, it just might inspire some hearty younger viewers - especially women - to grab a set of oars and find their bliss.
| Original Score: 3/5
It's an uncomplicated single-character study whose main purpose is as a housing for its lead performance.
| Original Score: B
| Original Score: C+
Passably pleasant but thoroughly predictable.
The biggest problem ... is the characters who populate the film. For the most part, they're one-dimensional caricatures.
| Original Score: 1.5/4
The neatness of the plotting becomes almost comical after a while. Construction is one thing; contrivance is another.
Even James Van Der Beek, so natural as a high school athletic director that you can't help but wonder if he's actually spent time in that job, can't save this film from drowning.
Drama is bland but teaches girls about competitive rowing.
| Original Score: 2/5
Hickernell soft-pedals the material into a blandly feel-good dramedy.
| Original Score: 2/4
It's a pleasant, but not especially dramatic, story about giving up your dream and hatching a new one.
Pairing a dull romance with an even duller sport (at least as represented here), this cliché-ridden vanity project is more suited to the ABC Family channel than to the inside of a movie theater.
| Original Score: 1.5/5
[A] painfully clichéd inspirational sports drama ...
Likable in spurts but too safe by a long stroke, "Backwards" would be right at home as a cable movie airing on ABC Family.
Subplots are introduced only to be resolved within minutes, characters jettisoned at a moment's notice.
Streamlines its busy set of plots into a 90-minute sprint, throughout which characters often confront and overcome their obstacles within the same scene.
| Original Score: 1/4