A MOST BEAUTIFUL THING (SXSX2020) – Review by Liz Whittemore

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Against all the odds, they became a team. A group of young men on the West Side of Chicago broke barriers to become the first all African American high school rowing team. They defied stereotypes. They stuck together, pushing past trauma, gangs, racism, no financial or community support. They were making waves. Teamwork and a coach taking a chance on them changed everything.

Intimate sit-down interviews with the team members, their families, and coach, now 20 years later, they get back in the boat to inspire the next generation through hard work and determination to compete once more. They tap Olympic coach Mike Teti to help get them back into shape. We get to see them train and head off to The Chicago Sprints, to reclaim their pride in the most beautiful way. With humor and heart, this group of strong men spread love and awareness. They strive to break the cycle of absent fathers and to give advice to the youth: “Keep working hard towards greatness.”

With an awesome soundtrack, narration by Common, produced by a slew of amazing backers like NBA stars Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade, and directed by Olympic rower Mary Mazzio, A Most Beautiful Thing crosses the finish line, easily winning over the viewer.

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Liz Whittemore

Liz Whittemore is the author of AWFJ's I SCREAM YOU SCREAM blog. She is Co-Managing Editor and writes for www.ReelNewsDaily.com, hosts the podcast Girls On Film and is a contributing writer for Cinemit.com and The ArtsWireWeekly. Now New York-based, she was born and raised in northern Connecticut. She's a graduate of The American Musical & Dramatic Academy, and has performed at Disneyland and famed Hartford Children's Theater, and been a member of NYC's Boomerang Theater, Connecticut's Simsbury Summer Theater, Virginia's Offstage Theatre, where she also directed. Her film credits include Suburban Skies and Surrender. In 2008, she shot Jabberwocky, a documentary now in post-production. Liz is still a children's theatre director and choreographer. She's working on an updated adaptation of Romeo and Juliet and a series of children's books.