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  • Writer's pictureKen Silvers

True Spirit

I don't know about you, but I tend to enjoy films based on true life events. One such film based on a true story is "True Spirit", now streaming on Netflix. The Australian film tells the story of Jessica Watson, an Australian sailor, who at the age of 16, attempted a solo navigation around the world. The film is set in 2009 when Jessica (Teagan Croft) is doing all she can to fulfill her dream of sailing solo around the world, which would take possibly 200 days. During the journey she must cross the equator and all meridians of longitude. One day Jessica does a test run, and while on the run her boat is hit by a freighter which has strayed off course. Had she remembered to turn on her alert system before she went to bed, the accident would have been avoided. After this harsh lesson, the media in Australia begins to doubt she is prepared for such a trip. Jessica is not deterred by the skeptical media, and with the help of her support team consisting of her mom Julie (Anna Paquin), her father Roger (Josh Lawson), her three siblings, and her coach Ben Bryant (Cliff Curtis), she sets sail from Sydney to begin her journey. The journey begins smoothly until she encounters her first big storm, which is extremely violent. Instead of heading away from the storm, she decides to ride it out, but is knocked unconscious and doesn't wake up until the next morning. Jessica convinces her parents she is fine and continues the journey and continues her trip. After enduring the harsh strom, she encounters a period of no wind, which results in her sailboat being stationary for a week. The unexpected stop in her trip brings on a bit of depression and loneliness, but eventually her mom lifts her spirits by singing to her, and the wind once again returns. As Jessica is about one thousand miles from Sydney, she is alerted three storms are about to merge, and Ben tries to convince her to take an alternate route for safety. Jessica considers doing so, but if she does take the alternate route, it will ruin her completion of her circumnavigation. Jessica refuses to give up, and choses to ride the monster storm system out. At this point I will not reveal what she experiences, but I will just say the film ends on a happy note, where Jessica is named the Young Australian of the Year. I must add Jesica has dyslexia, and despite her challenge, inspired many young people around the world during her journey, and eventually wrote two books. To this day Jessica is an avid sailor. The cast in the film is wonderful, and all are well cast, with Teagan bringing light and energy to her portrayal of Jessica. Of course Paquin is her usual excellent self, and Curtis ("Fear the Walking Dead") is effective in his portrayal of the disgraced former competitive sailor. Director Sarah Spillane ("Around the Block") keeps the film exciting, and allows star Teagan to do all the emoting she needs in her role. "True Spirit" is a wonderful story of how you should never let anyone keep you from achieving your dreams. Now streaming on Netflix. (Rated TV-PG)



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