Via Zoom: Isabelle Fuhrman & Lauren Hadaway of ‘The Novice’

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CHICAGO – One of the great indie films of 2021 is “The Novice,” written and directed by Lauren Hadaway, and featuring Isabelle Fuhrman. This intimate and fascinating look at female student athletes in crew (rowing) has many underlying themes and relationships. It opens at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago on December 26th. See below for details. Oscarman rating: 4.5/5.0
Rating: 4.5/5.0

”The Novice” was awarded the Best U.S. Narrative at 2021 Tribeca, and lives up to the honor as an intense character study of a female student/athlete named Alex Dall (Isabelle Fuhrman, who also took home Best Actress), beginning her adventure on a college-level rowing team as a “novice.” Her intensity to be the best borders on obsession, and her teammates don’t take too kindly to that, or her. The film builds a suspense around Alex, until the audience is swallowed up and practically becomes her. Writer/director Lauren Hadaway, in her feature debut, focuses on the micro level in “making the team” and on the macro level in maturating as a human being during a challenging and confusing time.

’The Novice,’ Written & Directed by Lauren Hadaway
Photo credit: IFC Films

Isabelle Fuhrman has been in film since she was ten years old, and is probably best remembered for her role as Clove in “The Hunger Games.” She was also in the popular “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions” in 2021. Director Lauren Hadaway is also notable for working in the sound department in various capacities for films such as “Pacific Rim,” “Whiplash,” “Selma,” “The Hateful Eight” and “Justice League.”

In an interview Via Zoom with Patrick McDonald of, Isabelle Fuhrman breaks down the character of Alex in “The Novice” …

In an interview Via Zoom with Patrick McDonald of, writer/director Lauren Hadaway talks about themes in “The Novice” (NOTE: Lauren’s Zoom feed cut off at times, thus sometimes her dialogue is out of sync) …

Trailer for “The Novice” …

“The Novice” opens on December 26th, 2021, at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 North State Street, Chicago. Click NOVICE for details. Featuring Isabelle Fuhrman, Amy Forsyth, Dilone, Jonathan Cherry and Kate Drummond. Written and directed by Lauren Hadaway. Rated “R” senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor, Film Writer

© 2021 Patrick McDonald,

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