The Finest Hours (Netflix) – Whenever someone mentions The U.S. Coast Guard being an important part of our country’s defense most people think to themselves, “That’s nice”. The Coast Guard is a branch of the armed forces but it gets very little notice, not unlike The Holy Ghost as a member of the trinity. The movie stars Chris Pike of Star Trek fame, as Bernie Webber, a crewman of a Coast Guard station on Cape Cod. It is winter and a mighty storm has hit the area with dangerous waves and winds. He is pressed into service to save the lives of over 30 men trapped on the back end of a cargo ship which split in two in rough seas. I won’t discuss what happens suffice it so say it isn’t box office boffo to produce a movie where ~40 men drown at sea, The Perfect Storm notwithstanding.
What makes the movie wonderful to watch is the determination Bernie shows to follow rules and regulations despite many around him who say that he only has to pretend to try a rescue and not put all the rescuers in peril. They won’t say anything if he makes a half-hearted attempt to reach the men on the cargo ship and go back to the station where it is warm and dry. Bernie will have none of that. He says, “We are under orders to go out, not come back”. The men trapped at sea are determined to try their best to make things work out even though odds are against them. Like Bernie Webber, there is a mechanic on the doomed ship who refuses to give up despite crew members telling him that his ideas are crazy and dangerous. It’s a classic tale of ‘head vs. heart’.
People often talk about first responders and their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way for the benefit of others. While true, we typically don’t think much past them about others who do the same. The military, including the Coast Guard, is another group who risk life for limb. The desire to help a fellow man is what makes a hero in our eyes except for the person who has that desire.
This movie is rated ‘safe’ for humans of all ages.
Potty mouth: 1 out of 10
Hand to hand combat: 1 out of 10
Hooty-hoot: 1 out of 10
Brrrr, wet, and yuck!: 12 out of 12