The Novice

Director: Lauren Hadaway
Year Released: 2021
Rating: 1.5

College freshman Alex (Isabelle Fuhrmann) joins her school's rowing team and then becomes pathologically fixated on being better than everyone else - she also applies the same driven (but exhausting) attitude to her Physics classes.  Instead of adequately probing her psyche and trying to dig into her past for key motivators, it instead tries to hyper-stylize her intensity: there are super close-ups of her sweating, bleeding, vomiting, urinating herself, rowing in a lightning storm, collapsing (multiple times) all while set to either classical music or some older pop song (by Brenda Lee or Connie Francis).  It's also kind of funny how her heterosexual hookup (which she wanted to get through as quickly as possible) is treated like getting a root canal while her lesbian affair with her TA (Dilone) is impassioned, full of emotion and transcendent: now imagine if the opposite scenario was presented and how social media would respond.