Review of Maidentrip by Laura Dekker, directed by Jillian Schlesinger
This documentary tells the true story of Laura Dekker’s attempt to become the youngest person to sail solo around the world. She set out on her trip in January 2010 and completed the journey a little more than a year later at the age of 16. There have been other teens to accomplish the task. I wrote about two such attempts in the posts Congratulations Jessica! and Another sixteen year-old enters the race. What separates Laura’s journey from many of the other attempts was her choice to stop and explore some of the locales she passed along the way.
Laura’s journey around the world is expertly told in this engaging documentary. Laura grows up during the course of this film and you see her gain her independence. Laura spent the first five years of her life on a boat. She sailed the world as a toddler with her father and mother. When Laura announced her plans to become the youngest person to sail around the world, authorities in Holland tried to stop her through legal action, threatening to take legal custody. Laura and her supporters prevailed. During the course of her journey, Laura notes that the only connection she has to Holland is the language. She decides that she has no intention of ever returning to Holland. It is another example of Laura exhibiting her independence.
All of the video shot at sea was shot by Laura. She does an amazing job of showing the various oceans she travails from her vantage point. She films dolphins swimming alongside her boat and you feel the emotion she felt as she was filming. You feel her frustration when she is becalmed in the Indian ocean. When it comes to storms, she films those as well. While you would expect her be at least a little frightened, instead she talks about how “awesome” the waves are.
Laura’s footage is intermingled with film taken at stops along the way, animation, voice overs, and film and images from Laura growing up. The editing takes what could have been a cheesy home movie and turns it into a first rate documentary. If you saw and enjoyed the film All is lost with Robert Redford, you will like this film.
I watched the film on Netflix. Add this one to your watchlist.