The Finest Hours – Film Review

Director: Craig Gillespie

Starring: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Holliday Granger, Ben Foster and Eric Bana

Release Date: Out Now

Based on a true story, The Finest Hours is set during the early 1950s and follows the life of Bernie Webber. As a coast guard working in Chatham, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, we see him embark on a relationship with a young woman named Miriam. Just as they become engaged, he is sent on a mission to rescue over 30 crewmen trapped on the sinking Pendelton, an oil tanker which split in two during the storm.

I know what you’re thinking; this sounds very similar to The Perfect Storm. And to be honest, it can be said of people that if they enjoyed The Perfect Storm, they will enjoy The Finest Hours. However, while The Perfect Storm has quite grim overtones, The Finest Hours has a much more positive note to it, even during the scenes where it seems that all is lost.

This is a visually spectacular film, which lends a real sense of drama to the action. This is especially evident in the sections where the crew are fighting monstrous waves in a tiny rowboat. I was sitting in my seat, holding my face, gripped by everything they were going through and constantly thinking “How did this really happen? How did they get through that? How have they not gotten hypothermia??”

Like the wild ocean itself, the story is very easy to fall into. Chris Pine, a formidable name in Hollywood, manages to eschew his star persona and embody his role as Bernie Webber. With nary an ultra-white Tom Cruise grin in sight, you can actually believe that these are ordinary people living in a fishing town, which was nice.

Nothing kills a period drama like veneers.

And while the story is easy to fall into, it’s a shame that Chris Pine and Casey Affleck are the only preservers really worth clinging to. Eric Bana’s Commander Cluff is decidedly ‘meh’. He isn’t as hateful as he could be, but neither is he memorable.
And Miriam is a character who aches for further development, a little substance. Holliday Granger does a fantastic job but the script didn’t give her much to work with, with barely a hint of back story. Their romance feels like a diluted Rick and Ilsa. There is no “We’ll always have Paris” for this couple; just Bernie telling Miriam that she looks like a bear when wearing her fur coat.
The dramatic pause that follows practically demands a sly “Thanks hun, Pennys”.

All in all, The Finest Hours is an enjoyable film, worthy of viewing. It may have its flaws, but they don’t detract from the tension of the story.
It delivers what it says on the tin, even if certain characters are in need of either considered development or forceful ejection.
Hashtag Bye Felicia!

Score: 4/5
Written by Melissa Maria Carton

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