Friday Film Review - "Maiden"

Sep 6, 2019

The documentary “Maiden” premiered at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival and was a 2019 Sundance Film Festival favorite in the SPOTLIGHT category.

This documentary was my absolute favorite of the entire Sundance Film Festival. It is a fantastic story so well told, well-filmed and well-edited that anyone viewing it regardless if they have an interest in yachting will be drawn into the competition the suspense the risk and the result.

Alex Holmes directed “Maiden” the remarkable true story of British sailor Tracy Edwards, and her quest to be the skipper of the first all-female crew to participate in the 1989 Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race.

The film opens with the powerful pounding of the ocean's waves and a voice saying "The ocean is always trying to kill you. It doesn't take a break"   

From the very beginning I was on the edge of my seat. I relaxed a bit when I realized Tracy, herself, is still around to recall the events of this life-changing experience. Her interesting back-story includes leaving home at age 16 after difficulties adjusting to life after her father's death. She backpacked her way to Greece and signed on as sailing stewardess to support herself and learn the ropes of yachting on the high seas.

Eventually, she hungered for more; wanting to compete in the male dominated sport. This doc chronicles her process of obtaining a vessel, rounding up the crew and all the obstacles they encountered in the process. I felt I was with her every leg of the race, the celebrations and the disappointments. Seriously, I laughed with her and genuinely teared up at least half a dozen times either incredibly proud of something this crew accomplished or in shared sadness with a failure.

The editor did an excellent job putting together film footage, photos and interviews illustrating Tracy's life and her desire, luck and determination to make it all happen. She and her crew call the obstacles they face "exhilarating" I say 'terrifying' is more like it but they faced the odds and changed the face of this race forever. They may not have won but they certainly did not lose.

This wonderful documentary is rated in the 98th percentile on Rotten Tomatoes. Park City Film will be screening “Maiden” on September 27-29. Check their website for details.

“Maiden” runs 1 hour and 37 exhilarating minutes and is rated PG.