March 25, 2020

“Maiden” Review: An Applause-Worthy Documentary

Tracy Edwards aboard the Maiden.
Documentaries aren’t typically my cup of tea, but every so often, one comes along that catches my attention. Maiden was one of those such films.

The film tackles the story of Tracy Edwards, a girl with a rocky adolescence, who eventually became a cook on charter boats, grew determined to compete in the Whitbread Round the World sailing race (recently renamed The Ocean Race) in the late 1980s. Tracy made it her mission to assemble an all-female crew, an endeavor which attracted the scorn and contempt of the press, the public and especially the other racers (almost entirely comprised of men).

It’s a tale we’ve seen done to death in cinema — after a challenging youth, a hero makes a promise and undergoes a difficult journey. Although (s)he endures trials and tribulations along the way, (s)he assembles a team that she becomes closer to along the way. They set off on their journey together, and even though they have troubles along the way, they successfully complete their journey and learn some sort of lesson. But just because it’s cliché doesn’t make it any less enjoyable.

Maiden features in-depth interviews with Tracy Edwards, her entire crew, journalists who reported on the event, and much more. The amount of footage that we see from the time is remarkable, giving us fascinating looks at life on the sailing vessel, Tracy’s childhood, and much more.

Another element of this film that I’ve never been interested in is sailing. Despite the constant use of sailing lingo, I found that my lack of knowledge isn’t as important as I was expecting — the film is more about the expedition of Tracy and her crew, along with the message that you can do anything you put your mind to.

I appreciated the inspiration aspect, and even though the history uses a tired cliché, it’s a true story, and proof that events like those can, have, and will happen.

In short, Maiden isn’t really my kind of movie. Despite that, when the credits started rolling, applause filled the theater, and I found myself joining in. After further consideration, I’ve decided that I thoroughly enjoyed Maiden. Its motivational message left me with a positive feeling that lingered long after I exited the theater, and it doesn’t waste any time at the beginning of the film by cutting right to the chase, as Tracy Edwards explains her mission. The fast-paced tale of a determined team of young women who move forward through everything, despite the consistent setbacks and misfortunes, is definitely one worth watching. [Grade: B]

Director: Alex Holmes
Starring: Tracy Edwards, Jo Gooding, Marie-Claude Kieffer Heys, Dawn Riley
Rated: PG for language, thematic elements, some suggestive content and brief smoking images
Available: On Demand
Fun Fact: The idea for the film was hatched after Tracy Edwards made a speech at the school of Alex Holmes’s daughter.

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