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A Most Beautiful Thing

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A Most Beautiful Thing chronicles the first African American high school rowing team in this country. The film explores not only the safety these young men found on the water but the trauma of violence and cyclical poverty, examining how these young men were able to support each other in reimagining a different future for themselves, and how rowing and the water provided the backdrop for that opportunity. These young men came together, after 20 years out of the boat, to race this past summer, not only to celebrate the team's founding, but the fact that they are still alive. This is their story.


  • Arshay Cooper
  • Common
  • Malcolm Hawkins
  • Preston Grandberry
  • Arne Duncan
  • Alvin Ross
  • Michael Teti
  • Anita DeFrantz
  • David Banks

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Jul 31, 2020

If anything, there’s something more to the “peace” that these men repeatedly say they found on the water. Peace may be harder to find this summer than we could have ever imagined, but it’s still a primal human need.

Metacritic review by Brian Tallerico
Brian Tallerico
Jul 30, 2020

[An] uplifting and inspirational and just plain cool documentary.

Metacritic review by Richard Roeper
Richard Roeper
Chicago Sun-Times
Jul 30, 2020

The documentary, based on Cooper’s self-published memoir (he connected with Mazzio on Twitter after she’d read it), illustrates the differences that can be made through the efforts of a few and draws attention to the high levels of trauma experienced by residents in our poorest neighborhoods.

Metacritic review by Kevin Crust
Kevin Crust
Los Angeles Times