With a black & white castle intro and mono sound, audiences are immediately transported to the 1950's when they see Disney's The Finest Hours. The film tells the true story of an impossible coast guard rescue mission, a man vs. nature epic that will keep you on the edge of your seat. But at the same time, there is a sweetness to it that makes it a perfect date movie.
The film shifts focus between Bernie Webber and Ray Sybert. Bernie is a young New England Coast Guard played by Chris Pine, Ray is a reclusive engineer aboard the SS Pendleton played by Casey Affleck. During a terrible storm, two ships off the Massachusetts coast split in half and nearly all coast guard resources are devoted to the SS Fort Mercer who sent out a distress call. But when Bernie's office notices another ship on their radar, he and a team of three men must brave the dangerous storm to try and rescue any survivors. Meanwhile, Ray does everything he can to keep his half of the Pendleton alive long enough to be rescued.
For Disney films, Chris Pine has gone from playing princes to a prince of a man as Bernie Webber. Despite a forced-sounding accent, it's one of his strongest performances to date and is very easy to root for. Holiday Grainger has gone from playing an ugly stepsister in Cinderella to the epitome of 1950's beauty in this film. While playing a woman of the 50's, she's more of a modern woman and doesn't let society hold her back. But of the three leads, Casey Affleck delivers the most winning performance.
The Finest Hours has a little something for everybody and with a PG-13 rating for intense action sequences, its more adult in spirit than your typical Disney film. Released in close proximity to Valentine's Day, this would make a great date movie that will make your loved one feel more precious to you by the end. With impressive visual effects, I highly recommend the up-charge to see it in 3D and I imagine the IMAX presentation is stunning as well. The Finest Hours is a thrilling, romantic, edge-of-your-seat adventure that celebrates the bravery of some real American heroes.
I give The Finest Hours 5 out of 5 shipwreck rescues.