Is The Novice a True Story?

‘The Novice’ is a spectacular psychological thriller film that draws attention to the internal conflicts of a college freshman, Alex Dall, even as she aims to reach the top of her collegiate rowing team. In her directorial debut, Lauren Hadaway makes heads turn with this well-acclaimed movie that explores the psychological and physical journey of Alex amidst tough competition from Jamie Brill, another fresher in the rowing team.

This twisted, valiant narration stands out as a sports movie because it is about understanding the emotional aspect of Alex rowing the boat, and not just the act of doing it. In ‘The Novice,’ the director managed to skillfully integrate the psychological aspects of Alex into the narrative. Let us take a look at how whether the movie is inspired by real-life experiences or not!

Is The Novice Based on a True Story?

‘The Novice’ is partially based on a true story. In an interview with Variety, Lauren stated that the movie draws inspiration from her own life during her college years when she was a part of the women’s rowing team of the Southern Methodist University’s rowing team. In order to challenge herself, Lauren chose this tough sporting activity and became obsessed within weeks. She continued an exhausting life of 20 hours a week dedicated to rowing for her entire college term.

Four straight years of Lauren’s college life revolved around excelling in this sport. She even earned a full scholarship through her performance over time. The director further added that through Alex in the movie, she tried to establish the philosophy that she follows in her own life to the audience. Lauren believes that average people can set themselves apart by willing to suffer relentlessly in order to achieve their aim. “This film is my existentialist anthem. I’m not religious and in life, you have to create your own meaning,” the director said.

She further added, “What I’ve discovered and thereby Alex, who is a proxy of me, is that I am happiest or thrive when I have a challenge. For Alex, too, it’s some kind of obsession, and maybe it’s a mix of nature and nurture.” Lauren also compared Alex to a Honda and Jamie to a Ferrari, saying, “A Honda can beat a Ferrari on the highway if the Honda’s willing to pedal to the metal, give it its all and blow up engine while the Ferraris is just coasting. That’s something I really believe in.”

In another interview, Lauren, who has been working for several years in the post-production sound department for films like ‘The Hateful Eight’ ‘Whiplash,’ and ‘Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again,’ admits to this film being her “catharsis.” The director recollected that her senior year’s last semester made her tired and emotional, so she would desperately wait every day for the semester because the entire experience of collegiate rowing had consumed her life. To Lauren, the experience with rowing in her college years was mostly traumatic, which is why she wrote this film to escape from that catharsis.

As far as Alex’s drive or desire is concerned, Lauren said that it is not external but internal. Comparing her own life with that of Alex, Lauren believes that the desire in her to do things comes from within. Challenges are what make both Alex and Lauren happy and thriving. In the movie, Alex’s obsession with challenging herself to be the best in the rowing team is rooted in both “nurture and nature.” ‘The Novice’ has nothing to do with reaching higher competitive levels like state or national championship but has got more to do with an unexplained internal feeling, something that Lauren herself can relate to.

Read More: Where Was The Novice Filmed?