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The Student News Site of Frederick High School

Frederick Lantern

The Student News Site of Frederick High School

Frederick Lantern

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“The Boys in the Boat” Wins the Gold

New movie is a heartwarming, inspirational story following a forgotten moment in history
Amazon MGM Studios
Movie poster for “The Boys in the Boat”. This new film was surprisingly both very interesting and enjoyable.

Throughout the history of athletics, there have been countless improbable champions, but there may not have been a more surprising group of heroes than the nine young men who rowed to the gold medal in 1936. The Boys in the Boat is a 2023 film directed by George Clooney, based on the 2013 book of the same name by Daniel James Brown. The story highlights a forgotten time in history, when the University of Washington men’s rowing team won the Summer Olympics in Berlin amidst the Great Depression. 

The story follows the nine members of the rowing team, consisting of eight rowers and the coxswain (the person who sits at the front of the boat and shouts out commands), as well as the coach, Al Ulbrickson. Joe Rantz, one of the eight rowers, is the main character. The movie starts by introducing Rantz, a student at the University of Washington, who was abandoned by his family at a young age and was left to fend for himself. As a college student in the middle of the Depression, he is desperate for money. He hears about a paid opportunity to join the school’s JV rowing team. Showing up to try out for the team, Rantz discovers there are many other men who want the job as well.

Fortunately, when the JV team is finally chosen, Rantz is selected, along with Don Hume, George “Shorty” Hunt, Jim McMillin, John White, Gordy Adam, Charles Day, and Roger Morris. The new team begins practice shortly after, following a celebration. The boys soon discover that rowing is an incredibly difficult and physically demanding sport, and the team struggles at first. At their first few practices and races, they aren’t doing very well. Ulbrickson, the coach, decides to switch out the JV coxswain for senior Bob Moch, who he thinks will be able to control the team better and help their focus. The boys’ success begins to grow, and they win race after race. The Summer Olympics are approaching soon, and Ulbrickson makes the difficult decision to bring the JV team in place of the Varsity team, despite criticism from many different people. The team works to fund the trip to Berlin, and eventually makes it there. Despite one of the rowers being extremely sick, they still raced, and narrowly beat the German and Italian teams for the gold. 

The University of Washington JV rowing team as portrayed in “The Boys in the Boat.” From left to right is Roger Morris (Sam Strike), Chuck Day (Thomas Elms), Gordy Adam (Joel Phillimore), Johnny White (Tom Varey), James “Stub” McMillin (Wil Coban), George “Shorty” Hunt (Bruce Herbelin-Earle), Joe Rantz (Callum Turner), Don Hume (Jack Mulhern), and coxswain Bobby Moch (Luke Slattery). (Amazon MGM Studios) 

This movie was ultimately very enjoyable, especially since I read the book several years ago, so it was fun to rediscover my love for this story. It is a heartwarming, inspirational true story, and it was a great way to bring to light an otherwise forgotten moment in history. The characters are well crafted and believable, and the story is exciting. The movie did a decent job of portraying the struggles the team endured, from the moment they were chosen to the day they won the gold at the Olympics. 

I didn’t know much about rowing before this movie, but throughout watching it I was very invested in the storyline and wanted to learn more. Whether you’re a history buff or not, I highly recommend giving this box office success a try. 

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About the Contributor
Isabel Howell, Staff Writer
Isabel is a senior at FHS who is new to the Lantern staff. Isabel is one of the Frederick High thespian officers as well as a member of the Varsity Blue show choir and the Town of Frederick Youth Commission. When not performing onstage, singing, or writing, Isabel loves to spend time with friends and family, spend time outside, shop, and try new makeup looks. After high school, she plans to attend a four-year college in Utah to pursue a major related to communications or writing.

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