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Film Review: 'The Finest Hours' Fine Tale of Survival

by Todd A. Smith


(Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures)


A Fine Two Hours 



The problem with having a job in the arts, such as a movie critic, is that it takes a lot to impress you.

Pop singer Jackie Jackson of the Jackson 5/The Jacksons once told a group of dancers at a Michael Jackson “Bad” tribute show that they had him in tears, which said a lot because his years in the business made it hard for anyone to truly entertain him.

Critics have the same problem.  We look for problems in a movie that might not be that serious.  And because we constantly see great movies, it is extremely difficult to move us.

“The Finest Hours” starring Chris Pine and Casey Affleck is a good, heart-warming and suspenseful film.

Fans will think it is great.  Some critics will think “The Finest Hours” is just pretty good.  My suggestion this time is that you listen to the former and not the latter.

Bruce Webber’s (Pine) life is going pretty well.

He has a good job that he enjoys with the Coast Guard.

He is newly engaged thanks to his aggressive fiancé Miriam (Holliday Grainger).  He still manages to hold on to his love for her even after her emasculating decision to propose to him.

At least she did not get down on one knee in public when she proposed.

The only thing that stands in the way of their planned April 16 nuptials is getting the marriage cleared with his superior Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) in Webber’s opinion.

However, a wicked nor’easter poses an even bigger threat to his nuptials and his life.

When an oil tanker ship led by Ray Sybert (Affleck) is cut in half by the treacherous blizzard, Webber puts together a team of Coast Guard members to rescue any possible survivors.

The visuals in “The Finest Hours” are dope.

Affleck does a great job with his cool, calm and collected demeanor despite facing an imminent death because of the nor’easter.

And Pine does a splendid job as well.  His acting is great because he does not try to overdo the Boston accent as so many actors do.  “The Finest Hours” takes place off the coast of Massachusetts.

However, Grainger is definitely the shining star in the midst of “The Finest Hours” storm.

Her feistiness had to be unheard of for a woman in the early 1950s.

Miriam is not the docile and submissive woman that waits for things to go her way in life.

She goes after what she wants even if that kind of behavior is the opposite of what is expected from a woman.

She is willing to fight for the man that she loves in all forms and facets, for better or for worse.

Unfortunately, “The Finest Hours” does suffer from predictability and sappiness. 

Nevertheless, it succeeds because of the strength of those involved in this true story of survival.

Whether the stranded men wanted to survive because of their love for their children, wives and girlfriends, they were determined to fight for their life until the last breath.


And a story like that will always entertain despite what the experts and critics say to the contrary.






This article was published on Friday 29 January, 2016.
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