This week I was afforded the opportunity to attend an advanced screening of The Finest Hours. The experience from beginning to end was fantastic. This post will focus solely on the movie itself. I will do a separate post that will center around my experience at the theater.
The Finest Hours is a Disney film based on the true story of what is still considered one of the greatest small boat rescues in history. I had no idea when I went to see the film what it was about. All I knew is Chris Pine and Casey Affleck were in it and I think Casey Affleck is a great actor. So I figured it wouldn’t be too bad…..The Finest Hours blew my socks off!
The film opens with Bernie Webber, played by Chris Pine, and his friend arriving at a blind date to meet the woman who would later become Bernie’s wife, Miriam, played by Holliday Grainger (I love her name by the way). Miriam is this cute, strong, feisty, vulnerable woman. If memory serves they meet in November 1951 at which time Bernie was already a Coast Guard at Station Chatham, Massachusetts. Bernie is portrayed as a soft spoken, follows orders without exception, push over kind of guy who attempted a rescue previously but couldn’t make it out. No one at the station seems to take him seriously.
February 1952 hits and there are reports of a horrific snow storm coming. As they are preparing for the storm, the coast guard station receives word of a T2 (oil tanker) that got caught in the storm and split in 2. As rescue teams are dispatched to that location they discover another T2 (oil tanker) is in trouble as well. Enter Ray Sybert, played by Casey Affleck, Ray Sybert is the ships engineer. He knows the ship in and out. When the ship gets into trouble he steps up and devises a plan to keep the ship afloat until help arrives. Of course it would not be a movie without an antagonist second guessing everything Ray Sybert says.
When the Chief Officer at Station Chatham realizes that there’s not 1 but 2 ships in trouble he dispatches Bernie and 3 other men on what seems to be a suicide mission to save the crew of the second sinking T2 tanker. Bernie and his crew have no back up or help because all help was dispatched to the first T2 tanker.
Here’s where the action starts! The cinematography, special effect, and surround sound, coupled with the 3D experience was phenomenal! One of the best scene sequences of the film was of Bernie & crew on this dinky little rescue boat trying to make it over the bar to get out to sea to find the T2 tanker. You felt like you were in the storm with them. All of the action at sea with the ships being tossed to and fro through the storm, the rain, the huge sweltering waves crashing down and wreaking havoc were AH! I can’t find the words to do the special effects justice. I am not usually a 3d person but I felt it added a bit of depth to the viewing experience that I’m not sure could or would’ve been there in standard 2D.
Getting back to the film, Bernie and crew complete the rescue and now have to navigate back through the storm to shore, at night, in torrential rains. All the while Miriam is on land going through the emotional rollercoaster of dating someone in the Coast Guard.
As the movie is coming to a close and you see the tiredness and weariness of all the men on this boat. Trying to stay alive and alert but slowly succumbing to the elements and everything they’ve been through. I could feel my emotions swirling, my eyes tearing up and I knew I was going to be no good! I tried to stay strong and unaffected but I could not help but to think of everything that these men had just experienced. Then to turn around and there be a row of actual, real life coast guards behind me in uniform and to imagine what they have gone through, I just fell apart. I wasn’t boo-hooing but tears sure did flow from these eyes.
I loved the movie! I give it 2 thumbs up and would recommend going to see it. The cinematography and special effects alone are worth your money but it is indeed a great, true, and inspiring story!