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The Novice - What We Know So Far

The summer movie season is fading fast from memory, which can mean only one thing — prestige movie season is on the way. Assuming the world doesn't find itself again on lockdown, cinephiles all over are in for a season full of high-minded thrillers, heavy-hitting dramas, and even a superhero spectacular or two. Many of the most anxiously-awaited prestige flicks will make their way to the multiplex under the umbrella of major studio backing. There are, however, dozens of upcoming indie movies on their way to theaters that are just as worthy of your attention.

One of those movies is a harrowing little sports drama by the name of "The Novice." Fear not if you haven't heard of this movie just yet, 'cause not many folks have. The film appears primed to be an awards darling nonetheless, and it's high time people started taking note of it. Here's everything we know so far about "The Novice."  

When will The Novice be released?

At this point in time, there isn't a ton of information out there about "The Novice," because not many people have actually seen it. The film did, however, make its premiere at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival, earning rave reviews from those who caught it, walking away with several major awards including Best U.S. Narrative Feature. So if you needed to check credentials before adding "The Novice" to your must-see list, that should be more than enough.

Accolades aside, "The Novice" team took their time finding a distributer, only recently inking a deal with IFC Films (via Deadline) that paved the way for a release later this year. If you're looking for a street date to mark on your calendar for the release of "The Novice," you can go ahead and pencil it in for December 17, 2021 as the film will hit select theaters, streaming, and VOD platforms that very day.   

Who is appearing in The Novice?

Now that you know when you can experience "The Novice" for yourself, you might be curious about who you'll be seeing in the film. As it is, the actor who's been earning raves (including a Best Actress win at Tribeca) for her fearsome turn in the starring role of "The Novice" is none other than Isabelle Fuhrman. If that name isn't familiar to you, horror fans likely recognize Fuhrman for her turn as the evil adoptee Esther in the 2009 creeper "Orphan." The actor has kept herself busy in the years since, recently wowing viewers with a scene-stealing turn opposite Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan in Showtime's hit drama "Masters of Sex." And it certainly appears Fuhrman is about to break out for real once "The Novice" makes its way to theaters.

Fuhrman will be joined in the film by a solid cast of established players and relative newcomers, including Amy Forsyth ("We Summon the Darkness"), Jonathan Cherry ("Wolfcop"), Kate Drummond ("Wynona Earp"), Nikki Duval ("Workin' Moms"), and Dilone among others.   

What is The Novice about?

If you're wondering what that talented group of actors will be doing in the film, "The Novice" is set in the hyper-competitive world of college rowing. Written and directed by first-time feature helmer Lauren Hadaway and reportedly based on experiences from her own life, "The Novice" finds Fuhrman portraying a queer college freshman who joins her university's rowing team with the seemingly impossible goal of making the top varsity boat, intending to do so no matter the cost. En route, she pushes herself well beyond her physical and psychological limits, and in turn pushes any and everyone in her orbit further away.

In telling such a story, Hadaway explores complex themes of not only what it takes to be the best, but the often unfathomable cost of aspiring to such a goal. Along the way, she exposes the often devastating effects of the "be the best at any cost" mentality so deeply engrained in the minds of many. Those wrenching topics, and the bracing way Hadaway explores them in "The Novice" already has some critics comparing the film to similarly-themed classics like "Black Swan," "Whiplash," and "The Wrestler." Here's hoping those comparisons ring true.