Thursday, January 2, 2020

Movie with Abe: Maiden

Directed by Alex Holmes
Released June 28, 2019

Throughout human history, women have faced an uphill battle to prove that they are equal to, and in many cases, greater than, men. Just as many civilizations decided that certain people were superior to others because of the color of their skin, there has been an assumption that men are smarter and more capable than women, which has led to policies and laws that subjugate them and assign them a lower place in society that is subservient. Grand achievements by women may go entirely unrecognized in spite of their merits, and there are many under-the-radar stories very worthy of being shared widely.

“Maiden” follows the first all-female crew to participate in the Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989. At its core is Tracy Edwards, who was just twenty-four at the time and serving as a charter boat cook before becoming the skipper. Determined to show the men who believe that she and her colleagues are not serious and not capable of achieving what they have, Edwards puts everything on the line, infusing the entirety of her finances and concentration into taking a stand and giving it her all so that they can be taken seriously and maybe even win.

The feat spotlighted in the film is definitely interesting enough in its own right, but what’s even more fascinating is how Tracy’s personality made her a vital part of this effort and also a frustrating one for all of her colleagues. Interviews with members of the crew and others who knew Edwards are extraordinarily enlightening, exploring her commitment to being a trailblazer and not being made to feel like she shouldn’t be able to do something above all else, leading to aggressive and unkind behavior that made her difficult to like and even sometimes hard to respect.

This film is a great portrait of an impressive accomplishment, one made all the more intriguing by the way in which it unfolded. To paint it as a positive instance of teamwork above all would be far too simplistic, and this film doesn’t settle for easy answers. Through its searching and insight, this film manages to be both informative and entertaining, firmly grounded in its late 1980s setting thanks to the clothes and styles seen on screen. This documentary, which made the shortlist of fifteen films for the corresponding Oscar race, is a very worthwhile film, one that’s truly a positive and affirming viewing experience.


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