The Finest Hours

Directed by Craig Gillespie
Starring Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Ben Foster, Eric Bana and Holliday Grainger
In UK Cinemas February 19th, 2016

by Laura Patricia Jones

Disney Pictures are normally famed for fairy tales, talking animals and family friendly favourites, so the move to produce something on a more ‘grown up’ scale is an intriguing one.

The Finest Hours tells the true story of an epic 1952 coast guard rescue mission (Disney wasn’t exactly going to cover anything mediocre was it).  Bernard “Bernie” Webber – played by the oh so dashing Chris Pine – is a crewman at the Coast Guard station in Chatham, Massachusetts who  falls for local red-lipped lush Miriam Pentinen (Holliday Grainger).

Miriam confidently moves aside all rules of coyness and asks him to marry her building up the courage to ask permission from his senior officer.  Bernie is instead dispatched on the rescue mission to pilot lifeboat CG 36500, to rescue the oil tanker SS Pendleton which split in half Titanic style, getting caught in the storm.  And so we follow the story of the heroic rescue mission to safety.

The feature is very much an ‘epic’ in that the scenes by themselves are pretty breathtaking and the IMAX experience is something else – a visually stunning experience as you find yourself nail bitingly cascading through the waves.  However, I’m not sure how this would translate to a 2D screen or in fact a DVD release ‘Netflix and chill.’

Credit should go to Chris Pine and the maturity he brings to the screen here. We normally see him as the arrogant heartthrob, but in this role he takes a much more naturalistic and insular approach and is very believable as a humble, local guy.  Holliday Grainger as Miriam echoes very much the young woman of the time, and the cast as a whole is well put together.

It’s a film that keeps you on your toes and one you won’t get bored of, but one that certainly doesn’t lack the Disney fairy tale ending as the ‘epic’ rescue mission is paired with the classic ‘love story’ with even Grainger’s finale crystal tear being pure Disney-sponsored magic

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