I know it’s been out for about a month, but I finally got to see the first movie of the year that Disney released – the Finest Hours. One of the cool things about going on a Disney Cruise is that they show movies in their movie theater that you can go watch (for free, included with your cruise fare). They show a lot of their newest releases – some still in theaters, others that were popular from the past year. During our cruise they showed Star Wars many times, as well as Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur, and a few others. The Finest Hours was the only one I hadn’t seen so I was excited that we got a chance to watch it!
If you’re not familiar with the film, it’s about the coast guard located in Massachusetts – and specifically, one coast guard member named Bernie, played by Chris Pine. During a particularly bad storm a large tanker ship splits in two off the coast, and most of the MA forces are sent out to help it. However, it turns out there’s actually a second tanker that has also split and needs help – but most of the coast guard is out rescuing the first one. That leaves Bernie and literally a handful of men on a tiny boat to venture out into what basically looks like a suicide mission for them. And of course Bernie has a fiancee at home to add a little romance to the plot and up the suspense about his return.
There are elements of the plot that are almost unbelievable – how could they have possibly done this? But the neatest thing of all is that The Finest Hours is actually based on a true story, so it did really happen. I’m sure there are some elements of Hollywood magic and dramatic leeway taken, of course, but it still blows my mind a bit that this was real. I’m curious to know what elements of the story were true and which ones were added.
One upside or downside of the movie, depending on your personal preferences, is that there is a good bit of technical detail in the plot and dialogue – particularly onboard the Pendleton (the tanker split in two). They go into some detail on how they attempt to stay alive and keep the ship moving for hours in the hopes of being rescued. Luckily I didn’t find it too overwhelming, and there were other elements of the plot to balance it out for me. My husband actually would have preferred more explanation on how exactly everything went down – particularly the rescue mission and how they got over some of those gigantic waves!
As I mentioned, I appreciated some of the other aspects of the plot. While none of the characters were particularly well developed, they at least had their own interesting little plot lines to follow. Bernie’s fiancee is not content with sitting at home hoping he’ll come back – she wants to take action, which is totally against what was expected of women in the 1950’s. I thought it was neat to see a relatively strong female character in this time period. Then there’s Bernie’s boss, who runs the coast guard but clearly doesn’t know what he’s doing. The mere fact that he sends Bernie out on the mission when the odds are his men will end up dead is proof of that. And Bernie himself does at least a little bit of growth throughout the film. He starts off as a staunch rule-follower, accepting the mission because it’s what he has been told to do. But he learns throughout the movie that sometimes those in charge aren’t always right, and sometimes maybe you should trust yourself instead, even if it means breaking the rules.
Acting-wise I thought Chris Pine did a solid job, even nailing the cliche Boston-esque accent. And let’s be honest, he’s pretty easy on the eyes too so no complaints having him on the screen for two hours! The only other standout for me was Holliday Grainger, who played his fiancee Miriam. I’m not too familiar with her (though apparently she played one of the step-sisters in the live action version of Cinderella), but I thought she did a nice job here. She also looked beautiful in the classic 50’s style.
Overall I found it an enjoyable movie. I will say that I get easily caught up in suspense. I guess I tend to get lost in a movie and not think about what might happen next, just live in the moment of it. So I’m often caught by surprise by plot twists and the like. The Finest Hours has plenty of suspense (even if you have a pretty good idea of the ultimate outcome) and kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. It’s not a movie I would feel the need to watch again, however. It was enjoyable one time but not something I would come back to.
I will admit though that it was slightly disconcerting watching this movie about a large boat splitting in two while riding on a large boat! The waves rocking the cruise ship almost gave the movie a “4D” effect! I recommend watching this one on dry land 😉
Did you see the Finest Hours? Are you interested in seeing it?