Review of the Netflix Film True Spirit Rating *****
This film tells the story of sixteen-year-old Jessica Watson’s attempt to become the youngest person to circumnavigate the globe. I wrote about Jessica way back in 2009 when she was making her attempt. She had satellite communications and was able to post updates about her journey, which her sister put out on social media. Here’s one post.
I don’t think people appreciate what Jessica accomplished at such a young age and in a boat that seemed too small for the task. The film is based on Jessica’s own account, which she described in her book about the journey.
One of the highlights of the film is when Jessica finds herself stranded in calm waters with no wind. I remember hearing about it when it was happening. She sat in her boat for seven days surrounded by nothing but water and sky. Having people following her journey in real-time kept people all around the world engaged in her effort, including me.
The film jumps back in forth in time with flashbacks. The same is true with the alternating stories of Jessica and her family back home in Australia. Some details from the real story were changed to accommodate a 110-minute movie, most notably the character of Ben, Jessica’s sailing mentor.
Filming anything on the water is difficult, but the filmmakers managed to pull it off. The cinematography was great and the storm sequences were believable. I also thought the entire cast did a great job, but especially Teagan Croft, who played Jessica.
Ignore the negative reviews. This is an inspirational movie about pursuing one’s dreams and achieving them. I thoroughly enjoyed the film. Make sure you stay through the credits to see the real Jessica and her family.