top of page


So old-fashioned that the uplifting message no longer gets across, The Boys in the Boat is comfort viewing for a lazy Sunday afternoon but, while not a bad film, won’t linger in anyone’s mind.

Odds are low that you will be surprised by any of the story beats in The Boys in the Boat, which tells the tale of the USA’s against-the-odds rowing triumph at the 1936 Olympics with unflinching predictability.

The movie recalls Chariots of Fire in its focus on camaraderie, and thanks to the crisp, gorgeous cinematography of Martin Ruhe it always is a pleasure to look at, even if the narrative hardly ever matches the visuals in its classy elegance.

Where The Boys in the Boat most egregiously treads water is in terms of suspense. Will the lead actor get the girl? Will the rowers overcome stronger teams to reach the Olympics? Will last-minute hurdles threaten the inevitable underdog outcome? Of course they do and it is never in doubt, often frustratingly so.

Compounding things is iffy editing, which cannot hide that certain sections of the film needlessly drag, while in other sections character development has obviously ended up on the cutting room floor, leaving you rather indifferent about any of the main characters.

George Clooney is a talented enough director to keep things moving along, but – as with most of his movies in the past decade – The Boys in the Boat coasts while it should have been soaring.

release: 2023

director: George Clooney

starring: Callum Turner, Joel Edgerton, Jack Mulhern, Hadley Robinson


bottom of page