Brian Tallerico of writes that  A Most Beautiful Thing is one of the best documentaries which was set to premiere at SXSW (“the best of what never was”): “As I was watching the joyful and powerful “A Most Beautiful Thing,” I thought about how the event would have played out in Austin…  and the likely standing ovation that would have followed….The warm reception I expect would have greeted Mary Mazzio’s film in Texas will now happen elsewhere. But it will definitely happen… I adored the storytelling and compassion in Mazzio’s approach. Not everyone could have gotten these guys to open up the way they do in “A Most Beautiful Thing,” and that’s often an underrated element of documentary filmmaking.  Common may do the narrating but Mazzio lets the people like the unforgettable Arshay give the film its momentum…” – Brian Tallerico,

“Story Of The First All-Black Rowing Team Is Absolutely A Must Watch… I dare you not to cry.” – Chris Baud, Deadspin

“Mr. Cooper still rows with his old Manley Crew teammates; they practice separately in the cities where they live and periodically meet up. Mr. Cooper told Ms. Mazzio that his teammate Alvin Ross was excited to reunite with the team ‘to celebrate the fact that we survived the West Side, that we’re still alive.'” – Alexandra Wolfe, The Wall Street Journal

Town&Country features A Most Beautiful Thing ahead of the film’s release. 

Scott Simon of NPR’s Weekend Edition sits down with Manley Crew Captain Arshay Cooper to learn more about the story that inspired A Most Beautiful Thing. 

“Mazzio’s journey in creating the documentary ‘‘A Most Beautiful Thing,’’ narrated by Common and with Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade as executive producers, began with a ride around the old neighborhood. Cooper and Ross wanted to give the director a firsthand look at what life was like growing up on the West Side. As the three of them drove through the West Side, beginning at Cooper’s old house and making their way to Manley High School, Cooper and Ross were pointing out the different blocks that belonged to different gangs. “By the time we made it to Manley, I asked, ‘How did you get to school safely?’” Mazzio said. “And Arshay said, ‘That, my friend, is the point.’”- Annie Costabile, Chicago Sun-Times

“After watching this film, it wouldn’t surprise me—and I have a little bit of experience in this regard—it wouldn’t surprise me if you were nominated for an Academy Award… It’s that good in my opinion.” – Ron Stallworth, author of Black Klansman 

“With humor and heart, this group of strong men spread love and awareness. They strive to break the cycle of absent fathers and to give advice to the youth: ‘Keep working hard towards greatness.’ With an awesome soundtrack, narration by Common, produced by a slew of amazing backers like NBA stars Grant Hill and Dwyane Wade, and directed by Olympic rower Mary Mazzio, A Most Beautiful Thing crosses the finish line, easily winning over the viewer.” – Liz Whittemore, Alliance of Women Film Journalists

“A Miracle on the Water…one thing is certain; Mazzio’s film will be a must-see whenever it premieres…” – Bryan Abrams, The Credits

“it’s a great movie” – Rick Kogan, Chicago Tribune

Chicago Magazine interviews Arshay Cooper ahead of A Most Beautiful Thing‘s release. 

New York’s Fox 5 News spotlights A Most Beautiful Thing (features interviews with Executive Producer Grant Hill, Director Mary Mazzio, and Arshay Cooper).

Deadspin sits down with A Most Beautiful Thing‘s executive producer 9th Wonder to talk about his involvement with the film and how he set about creating the hip-hop score.

Sharon Chapman, Features Editor at The Austin American Statesmen, selected A Most Beautiful Thing as one of  SXSW’s must-see films. 

The Root lists A Most Beautiful Thing as the number one most anticipated film at SXSW; BET features A Most Beautiful Thing ahead of SXSW Festival; and Atlanta Black Star highlights the involvement of Common, Grant Hill, Dwyane Wade, and 9th Wonder.  The film was also covered by Shadow and Act and Black Enterprise.

A Most Beautiful Thing. “WATCH: Five Black History-Making Rowers Pull Together in ‘A Most Beautiful Thing’” – N. Jamiyla Chisholm, Colorlines

“Both in Hollywood and general society, people with jail records and/or addiction issues tend to be dehumanized. Not here… A Most Beautiful Thing paints people society tends to cast aside with admirable grace and the same can be said for how it shifts between differing tones. A Most Beautiful Thing’s ability to explore people as complex beings doesn’t mean it sacrifices entertainment when the time is right for such material… Connecting the disparate tonal elements of A Most Beautiful Thing is a unique manifestation of the idea of victory.” – Doug Laman, The Spool

“A must watch doc.” – Alex Billington,

“important and wonderful.” – Andy Anderson, Rowing News

Row2k sits down with Arshay Cooper to discuss both his memoir and the film, A Most Beautiful Thing.  Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Also, Rowing News features A Most Beautiful Thing, as does Row2k   USRowing,  Row2k, and Row360, and the US Olympian and Paralympian Newsletter.

From Executive Producer, Chaz Ebert: 

The Mayor of Terre Haute, Indiana declares March 13, 2020 “Arshay Cooper Day.” Covered also by the Tribune-Star

Deadline highlights A Most Beautiful Thing as a Documentary Spotlight at SXSW. 

The Palm Beach Post talks with Arshay about how A Most Beautiful Thing can be used as a tool for social change. 


From @jaiathomasI’ve been watching #SXSW screeners today and “A Most Beautiful Thing” is one of the best documentaries I’ve ever seen.”

For Press

Press Release

Mary Mazzio Bio

Director Statement

Manley Team on location in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films
Preston Grandberry on location in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films
Arshay Cooper on location in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films
Malcolm Hawkins on location in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films
Alvin Ross on location in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films
Ray “Pookie” Hawkins on location in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films
Manley Team on location in Oakland. © 2019 Richard Schultz. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films
Mary Mazzio and DP Joe Grasso on location in Chicago. © 2019 Clayton Hauck. Courtesy 50 Eggs Films