The Finest Hours: A Daring Sea Rescue


Grace Lewis

Social Media Manager, Lily Brooks, reviews the movie, The Finest Hours.

Lily Brooks, Social Media Manager

Its February 18, 1952. Off the tip of Cape Cod, the seas are so strong that they break two tankers in half within hours of each other. A massive storm strikes New England, freezing towns along the Eastern seaboard and threatening the ships at sea. It’s winter, and these frigid temperatures and broken ships leave dozens of men facing death within the next hours. A small handful of men are called to the forefront to operate a search mission for remains left of the tanker, the SS Pendleton.

Based on a true story, the film The Finest Hours accurately depicts the desperation in the tense moments of realization and execution.

Directed by Craig Gillaspie, the movie is based upon the book The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard’s Most Daring Sea Rescue by Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman. This movie tells the story of a sea great rescue executed by a small Coast Guard crew in an even smaller boat.

The frighted crew of the sinking ship is organized and led by the senior officer on board, first assistant engineer Ray Sybert (played by Casey Affleck). The crew members band together to keep the broken ship floating long enough to be grounded on a sandbar near land; the closest U.S. Coast Guard station in Chatham, Massachusetts.  The station commander, Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (played by Eric Bana), orders a daring rescue against all odds of success.  The four men chosen for the mission are led by Coast Guard crewman Bernie Webber (played by Chris Pine), and they depart in a 36-foot wooden lifeboat with only a compass.  Facing icy temperatures, 60-foot high waves, and hurricane-force winds, they make it out to sea.  The Coast Guard rescue team miraculously finds the split tanker, rescues the stranded crew, and returns to Chatham with 40 men on a boat built for a maximum of fifteen.

Intertwined in the story, Bernie has a girlfriend, Miriam Pentinen (played by Holliday Grainger).  Miriam hears about Bernie’s scary assignment. Fearing that it is a suicide mission, she and the town hold a vigil, inspiring the men to fight against the odds and to return home successfully and safely from the raging storm.

Overall, the movie was very well made. The actors portrayed the characters in a moving way, creating the gripping and engaging feeling of both the film and the real event. It gives you the hope that, even in the most dire situations, if you stay focused on the goal and steadfast in your actions, you can make it out of the storm.

“The Finest Hours” is rated PG-13 and run time: 1 hour 57 minutes.