It’s 2009 and young Australian teenager Jessica Watson, already an avid sailor at the age of 16, has vowed to sail around the world alone. Despite everything stacked against him, including a failed test run and wanting to call off his trip due to safety concerns, he remains committed to his dream, even though it’s expensive to do so.
In addition to the already obvious danger, Jessica also has dyslexia. When you’re at sea it can be hard to read coordinates and maps as they are, but add dyslexia on top of that and it’s a huge struggle.
True Spirit feels too short because there isn’t much to the story. He is trying to travel the world at just 16 years old; he has a struggle; lonely and depressed; it has some dangerous points; and he has dyslexia.
The importance of music in movies is often underestimated in biographies like this, but honestly, it’s just as important as filming and editing. While they get the job done, there’s nothing particularly remarkable about it.
All that said, True Spirit is definitely inspiring, and discovering this real-life story throughout the film reminds us why it’s still such a great medium. It leaves you with a good feeling and a sense of admiration for Jessica Watson, and she is a truly impressive person.
But when evaluating it for entertainment value, True Spirit doesn’t have much. The makers of this film tried to balance the few tense moments at sea with many positive aspects (showing his courage and healthy relationship with his family, etc.). They tried to show that she is determined from a young age, but with all that, there is a distinct lack of depth on screen. The movie never shows why Jessica is so determined, except that she feels inadequate and wants to prove people wrong, but then again, where is the reason?
When you watch a “true story” movie like this, you never know which parts are authentic, but the best thing about this movie is that its most interesting parts are not fictional. All in all, it’s an uplifting watch and will leave you a little in awe, even if the drama itself doesn’t really stand out.