Great Case Study, Good Starter Film: The Novice

The Novice, written and directed by Lauren Hadaway, reminds me of my counseling training days. If you suped up a OCD case study from the DSM-IV, you’d have The Novice. Unfortunately, case studies are just one note wonders, they don’t round out the person’s life, nor specifically detail impacts on a person’s life. It’s simply a cursory description.
We see the main character’s obsession with being the best in rowing and academics, and we see a snippet (and I mean more tiny like snips) of her ignoring her mother’s calls, but we never get any backstory on the manifestation of her ailment. With a bit more writing, we’d have a more comprehensive view and consequently more of an emotional impact.
The acting was fantastic. Isabelle Fuhrman did a tremendous job, HOWEVER, because its singular conflict runs for an hour and forty-five minutes (taut, taut, taut), I can’t support her getting the award. Nominated? Yes. Awarded? No. Two other actresses, Amy Forsyth and Dilone are also solid actresses. In fact, all of the cast, coaches being next in line for screen time were also realistically portrayed.
The editing was choppy and discombobulated. In one scene abruptly cut in, she’s at a dinner party. We don’t know why, suddenly she’s just plopped in there. Then just as quickly after a bathroom break (hers, not mine -smiley face) she’s in a pool hall. Even worse, in a pivotal scene near the movie’s climax, the cinematography is so murky, you feel like you’re seeing the Blair Witch Project Lake Style. So great start, I’m sure with more writing, her next film will be “The Expert”.

By Goldie

Aspiring writer who has retired from the institution of education. I've written plays, three of which have been performed both in Rochester NY and here in Sarasota FL. I also write stand up and obviously, film critique. My comment section does not work, so please email me your comments at

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