The Finest Hours: A New Angle
A Review of The Finest Hours
My test of a movie is if I walk out of the theater saying that I want to own it when it comes out on DVD.
I said that after I saw The Finest Hours. It’s the story of the disaster in 1952 off the coast of Cape Cod, when a tanker was caught in a giant storm and actually broke apart in the ocean. Back on shore, the Coast Guard sent out a crew on a boat that never should have made it out, but did, and ended up rescuing almost the whole crew of the tanker. The crew had ended up in one half of the tanker, and that half ran aground, and the Coast Guard boat managed to find that half and get the crew off before it dislodged and sank.
You could call it a formula movie with the perfect set up and the pair of unlikely heroes that rise in the face of opposition to pull off amazing feats (the tanker hero gets the tanker to run aground for just enough time to get everyone saved; the Coast Guard hero overcomes incredible odds and gets the little rescue boat past the shoal with its building-sized waves to the tanker and rescues everyone).
But the fact that it’s a true story takes away the formula feel of it. True, it’s a movie, so you know certain facts and aspects have been massaged to fit what needs to happen to sell the movie.
Nevertheless, it’s a movie that works. You have the romantic component, with the girl that shows a bunch of moxie and inserts herself into the company of the Coast Guard crew on land, refusing to leave the building until her fiancé (the guy piloting the rescue boat against all odds) comes back safely.
You have the setting—the frigid and snowy northeast coastline, the giant black waves, the gritty, oily bowels of the tanker—which transports anyone to a place they’ve never been.
You have the drama of the story which you know actually happened, so there’s that real life urgency to it.
Is it a movie for kids? For small kids, probably not. Honestly, they’d probably find it boring. They won’t understand the import of the events. They’ll be able to pick up the tension and the drama, which will probably create unease, but they won’t understand what’s actually happening.
Somewhat older children will get what’s going on, and the ocean scenes might cause them distress. If you know your kids have issues with water, I wouldn’t take them to this movie. If you don’t know, I’d say maybe see the movie first before you take the kids.
So that about sums it up for that movie. It’s a movie that’s very well done. The acting is good. The cinematography is excellent. The story line is compelling. And the fact that it’s based on a true story takes it out of the realm of fiction which makes the whole thing that much better.
Two thumbs up.