I’ve attended a few complimentary press movie screenings now and I pride myself on writing spoiler free reviews. Well this one is going to be hard. I was able to see The Finest Hours a few weeks ago and I’ve been thinking about it ever since. I want to let you know that I really enjoyed it and that it was a really compelling movie but I don’t want to get too specific and possibly reveal too much about the movie.
Let’s start with the synopsis of the movie: A heroic action-thriller, “The Finest Hours” is the remarkable true story of the most daring rescue mission in the history of the Coast Guard. On February 18, 1952, a massive nor’easter struck New England, pummeling towns along the Eastern seaboard and wreaking havoc on the ships caught in its deadly path, including the SS Pendleton, a T-2 oil tanker bound for Boston, which was literally ripped in half, trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly-sinking stern. As the senior officer on board, first assistant engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) soon realizes it is up to him to take charge of the frightened crew and inspire the men to set aside their differences and work together to ride out one of the worst storms to ever hit the East Coast. Meanwhile, as word of the disaster reaches the U.S. Coast Guard station in Chatham, Massachusetts, Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) orders a daring operation to rescue the stranded men. Despite overwhelming odds, four men, led by Coast Guard Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), set out in a wooden lifeboat with an ill-equipped engine and little, if any, means of navigation, facing frigid temperatures, 60-foot high waves and hurricane-force winds.
That really is a good solid synopsis of the movie. However it doesn’t even mention my favorite character, Miriam(Holliday Grainger). She plays Chris Pine’s love interest in the movie and I really loved her character. She was a strong independent woman. She was the kind of woman that took care of business and got things done. Every time she was told, “that’s not how things work around here”, she did it anyway. She was just the perfect complement to Bernie Webber’s squeaky clean, follow the rules to the letter personality.
Casey Affleck was also great as Ray Sybert. He found himself in charge of this ship that was ripped in half. He kept a calm head, kept problem solving, and did everything he could to help the crew survive. He definitely wasn’t the loudest or strongest personality but when he spoke it was thoughtful and insightful. It’s a lot like in life, the loudest and bossiest person isn’t necessarily the person you want to follow.
My uncle served in the Coast Guard during the Vietnam War. It was probably 10 or so years after the events in the Finest Hours. If they are still talking about that rescue today, I’m sure he heard all about it when he was serving. The Finest Hours definitely gave me a lot to think about. Life is so fragile and yet humans can be so strong, especially when they work together.
I would consider myself a “thinker” so I was relating the trial these men went through to life in general. I came across the quote, “A smooth sea, never made a skilled sailor.” Lately I’ve felt a little extra tossed and thrown around in this stormy sea of life. I’m going to try an attitude shift and look for the lessons I’m learning, and if I’m not learning anything, figure out why!
The Finest Hours is in theaters January 29, 2016. Check out The Finest Hours website for more information and movie trailers.