TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Backspot’

Posted in TIFF 2023 by - September 13, 2023
TIFF 2023: Our Review of ‘Backspot’

D.W Waterson (who pitched the story) nails the landing of their nail-biting cheerleader competition movie, Backspot which will leave you laughing in between creating pools of sweat as audiences watch its plot unfold.

The movie focuses almost solely on Riley (Devery Jacobs) as she is trying to get into the next level within competitive cheerleading. She is with her girlfriend, Amanda (Kudakwashe Rutendo), and both are now in the elite of the elite. Unfortunately for Riley, she is a perfectionist and tries her hardest to impress her coach, Eileen (Evan Rachel Wood). Throughout the journey there are certainly a fair share of ups and downs, but it is the journey itself that encapsulates the film and creates this tense world for the audience to marinate in.

Backspot works for a variety of reasons including the masterful direction from D.W Waterson and the script penned by Joanne Sarazen. However, it is the performance from Devery Jacobs that absolutely carries the show and the hearts of the audience. It is impossible not to root for Riley throughout her journey, and the sheer hardships and chaos are nothing shy of inspiring. It truly creates a world that meshes the intensity and anxiety of Uncut Gems mixed with the comedy and sisterhood/friendships that cheerleading bring to the forefront of this intense sport. If acute panic attacks mixed with comedic bursts of levity are going to be D.W Waterson’s calling card for their features, then sign me right up for the chaotic journey.

(Editor’s note: The editor made some changes to reflect biographical information about the crew.)


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My earliest movie memory, outside of my home theatre in my basement, was going to the local Video 99 and wanting to rent ET only to be told by the shop owner it was playing down the street in theatres. My love for cinema has been alive for as long as I can honestly remember. I would frequent the cinema minutes down from my house daily. It was a second home. Movies are an escape from the everyday world, a window into the soul, a distant friend. If I’m not watching a movie, I’m probably watching a tv show, if I’m doing neither I’m asleep. Feel free to interact me at @Dubsreviews
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