The Boys in the Boat presents the inspiring story of nine young men who are chosen to be members of the 1936 University of Washington rowing team – eight rowers and one coxswain will call out instructions and execute the strategy. The story follows the recruitment and training of the team, their early competitions on the West Coast, and the national competition to gain the chance to compete in the Olympics in Berlin. The Olympic race culminates the film.

Although for rowing fans, all the race scenes will be fascinating, other viewers may be more interested in the backstories of the teammates. Unable to find work during the Depression, even those who have no experience rowing try out for the team and the promise of pay for rowing. The main character is Joe Ranz (Callum Turner) who needs money to pay the rest of his tuition. He had a rough time growing up and was abandoned by his father.

Joel Edgerton as the coach

During the 1930’s rowing was a popular international sport with hundreds of thousands watching on the shore or listening to games on radios. Whereas many sports sagas of the times focused on the triumphs of individuals, The Boys in the Boat puts the drama on the teamwork of the squad. They are competing against better financed and experienced teams, especially from the rich schools in the East. The coaches (Joel Edgerton, James Wolk) and the builder of their boat (Peter Guinness) emphasize that they are just as good as the other teams and their strength lies in how they work together and support each other. You can see all this in the racing scenes.

The New York Times bestselling non-fiction novel by Daniel James Brown has been brought to the screen with great energy and creativity.