A Most Beautiful Thing

2020 | Documentary | 95 minutes | English


In the late 1990s, the West Side of Chicago was riddled with crime and poverty. Ken Alpart, a man who excelled at rowing while a student at Penn, decided to recruit African Americans from Manley High School and form a rowing team. To ensure they attend his initial meeting, Alpart offered free pizza. The team members barely knew anything about rowing and what it was like to glide over water in a boat. But through hard work and persistence, they managed to form a team and to complete in major races. In an inspired moment they invited local police members to join them in the race. Twenty years laters they reunited for a funeral of one of the coaches. As they regaled and reminisced with each other, they showed the hard-pressed neighborhood kids what it’s like to do the unthinkable.  

Ken Alpart / Members of the Manley High School Rowing Team: Arshay Cooper, Alvin Ross, Malcolm Hawkins, Preston Grandberry, Ray Hawkins 
Why Stream This Film?
Rowing was considered a white-men, upper-class sport, until Ken Alpart decided to recruit and form the first all-African American high school rowing team. The film will both break your heart and enthrall you. With so many inner cities experiencing poverty, and hopelessness, we need a film like A Most Beautiful Thing.
  • Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus): 100%
  • Metacritic Score: 79
  • Critics Choice Documentary Awards: Nominated, Best Sports Documentary
  • The film received a perfect 100% Rotten Tomatoes score
Given what’s happening in the city and in the country these days, the scenes of the cops and the original Manley rowing crew working together, sharing laughs, bonding and rooting for one another are particularly poignant. We can feel our hearts hurting and soaring at the same time.
Richard Roeper

Chicago Sun-Times

A MOST BEAUTIFUL THING powerfully demonstrates the healing potential of sports and the ways it can help bridge societal divides.
Frank Scheck

The Hollywood Reporter

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