Movie Review: The Finest Hours

Imagine that! Denisa and I went out on a date last night to see a movie in the theaters. Alas, the movie I really wanted to see (Hail Caesar!) wasn’t playing, but it wasn’t like we could just wait for a different movie to come along. We had a free babysitter for the evening, so it was now or never.

In the end, we picked The Finest Hours. It had gotten decent reviews, and was the best of the lot. (Really, there was no other option at our theater. Kung Fu Panda 3? Deadpool would never work for Denisa. Zoolander 2? Come on, Hollywood!)

For those of you who might not have heard of it, The Finest Hours is based on a real life shipwreck in the 50s, and the rescue efforts surrounding it. It stars Chris Pine and Casey Affleck, and it was directed by Craig Gillespie (of Lars and the Real Girl fame). In the end, we both enjoyed ourselves. Denisa really loved the film, and I thought it was very good.

And now I’m going to give probably the worst recommendation of a film you could. Because I really did like the movie. I’d say it was between a 3/5 and a 4/5, but in the end wound up in the 3/5 spot. Why? Because it was just plain “good.” It was a paint-by-numbers film that checked off all the boxes in the right order. Romantic subplot? Check. Stirring musical score? Check. Great special effects sequences? Check. Masculine show downs between lead actors? Check.

Check check check check.

It felt like a throwback movie to the era it was set in. It’s classic plot and classic acting. And it manages to do all of it without ever really surprising me.

In a way, it was like a Disney hike. A hike advertised as being enthralling and exciting and adventuresome. See unseen places! Explore the wilderness! And when you go on that hike, you really are stunned. It all seems so great. So picturesque. You have a random run-in with a moose. You get to catch a record-sized trout. It’s all spectacular. But you notice every now and then that the path you’re walking on seems pretty worn down. And the spot where you caught the trout? There’s a bunch of identically-sized trout bones piled up right behind it. And so you realize that the “adventure” has been scripted. It’s on rails. It’s still beautiful, but the thrill isn’t the same.

Does that make sense?

Then again, this is a Disney film, so maybe that’s what they were going for.

In any case, I can definitely recommend the movie if you’re looking for a fun few hours. It’s clean, straightforward film making. You’ll have a great time.

Just don’t expect to break new ground.

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