Alex (Alexander Ludwig) is the captain of his Ivy League college’s rowing team. He has a lot on his shoulders as his father is hoping that his athletic efforts will take him to the Olympics, but Alex’s attitude leaves something less to be desired. This has a knock-on affect on the team and by the time their new coach, Jack Murphy (Michael Shannon) is brought on, they could hardly be called a well-oiled machine.
So, it’s Coach Murphy’s job to bring the team together and have them working as one. However, the team all have their own problems and as they come closer together, their personal issues drive them apart.
Heart of Champions is a sports movie directed by Michael Mailer and executive produced by Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss. Taking a familiar setting for the Winklevoss twins and the format that many sports movie fans will enjoy, Heart of Champions gives its audience just what they were expecting, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have flaws.
There’s the typical formula of a dysfunctional sports team who are brought together and inspired by a grizzly, yet lovable coach. The team also have their own characters that either find they can relate to each other in unusual ways or learn to accept their differences. There’s even the occasional montage which shows their team building efforts. However, where Heart of Champions’ script follows all these familiar tropes, it shows itself up by not going deep enough.
There are a lot of people in a rowing team, perhaps too many to really focus on when making a film on them. This means that the film decides to follow a select few, while the others get ignored entirely. This may be all well and good, but when a large portion of that time is focussed on a romance between Chris (Charles Melton) and Nisha (Ash Santos), then it becomes glaringly obvious how many have been left out.
This also comes to a head during a pivotal moment in the movie’s final act when a character who has been given so little screen time so far, becomes the one to rally the team to work together.
Add to that Alex’s clichéd story of rich privilege and another character casually mentioning that he’s a recovering alcoholic and it’s just not enough to make a story. So, where it should be a rousing story of triumph and teamwork – it fails.
We hope you're enjoying BRWC. You should check us out on our social channels, subscribe to our newsletter, and tell your friends. BRWC is short for battleroyalewithcheese.