Recently, Netflix released a movie about Jessica Watson - True Spirit. The film in the biopic genre could not pass by us, because it tells about yachting!
Round the world young yachtswoman
A few weeks ago we told about the famous yachtsmen of our time. Among them was Jessica Watson, an Australian who became the youngest skipper to complete a solo non-stop circumnavigation of the world.
After 13 years, Netflix decided to film this adventure. Most recently, a film called True Spirit (“Unbreakable Spirit” in Ukrainian translation), which is dedicated to Jessica, became available on the company’s service.
Jessica took part in the filming and also decided to share real memories of her trip around the world and how it was transferred to the film by the Yachting Monthly editors.
Autobiography at the heart of the plot
One of the first scenes of the film introduces the viewer to the young Jessica. The girl is on board her boat S&S 34 Ella's Pink Lady and makes a trial solo trip to the sea. Then the girl lost control and collided with a 63,000-ton cargo ship off the coast of Queensland. The yacht, of course, received serious damage.
Watson's autobiography, which formed the basis of the film, began from the same scene. As the yachtswoman herself writes: “I grabbed the tiller, turned off the autopilot and tried to control the boat. But it was hopeless. I had nowhere to run and there was nothing I could do.”
Jess says that the only thing worse than the wreck of the yacht was the crowd of reporters on the shore. Many journalists and commentators questioned the stories of the parents of the yachtswoman and Jess herself, which greatly influenced the girl. This aspect is also shown in the film.
Watson is now 30 years old. Despite universal recognition, the yachtswoman did not really want to be in the spotlight again: “I had rather mixed emotions. [Since circumnavigating the world] time has passed, I enjoy my life and I like that I am not recognized on the streets. But at the same time, I am very grateful for the attention and I hope that this will contribute to the popularization of yachting.”
Stories about teen yachtsmen about to set world records were especially popular between the late 1990s and early 2010s. It all started with fellow countryman Jessica - Australian Jesse Martin. He became one of the first young yachtsmen to break the record for a non-stop circumnavigation of the world.
At the time of breaking the record, he was 17 years old. Martin went all the way aboard the S&S 34 Lionheart and wrote a book about it. At one time, Watson read this book and for a long time it was she who became a source of inspiration for the young yachtswoman.
Martin completed his circumnavigation in 1999. At the same time, the concern of parents all over the planet began to grow that the circumnavigation of the world, especially the solo one, is not entertainment for children. In addition, to cover such an event in newspaper columns, on radio and television broadcasts, is tantamount to inciting the younger generation to want to join such adventures.
The World Sailing Speed Records Council, under pressure from the public, stopped registering records in the “youngest” category. Since then, the official and only record holder for non-stop circumnavigation of the world has been Jesse Martin.
However, the public, as usual, did not fully understand the issue. People from the periphery ignored the fact that the teenagers who went to conquer the seas and oceans were by no means from ordinary families. Often teenagers from families who have been professionally engaged in yachting for more than one generation sign up for such adventures. Children from such families sail almost from infancy and by the age of 16-18 they are already professional athletes.
True Spirit is a biopic film that focuses on the main character (heroine) and the events that shaped his or her personality. And yet, first of all, this is a work of art, in which there is a place for a free interpretation of some events in order to let the viewer feel the story more deeply.
One of the assumptions was a small change in family history. We won’t spoil it, we’ll just tell you briefly how it really happened. Jessica's family owned a small TV rental company. Jess spent most of her childhood on the road, sometimes on boats, sometimes in trailers. However, this allowed the yachtswoman to feel the importance of such a concept as home, mutual assistance and how important family ties are.
Jessica writes: “I saw the emotional experiences my family went through. I think that years later I rethought it and realized how important mutual assistance is on the example of other seafarers. Especially those who got into trouble at sea - and at that time I had to sit on the shore. Worse than bad news is inaction.”
Several real people had to be turned into one character who had the distinctive features of his prototypes. This is a common technique in biopics, so you can’t somehow scold this aspect. One such character is Jess' mentor in the film, who is both a teacher and a shore crew. One of the prototypes of this character is the organizer of the Golden Globe Race, Don McIntyre, who gave Jess the opportunity to travel on the S&S 34.
Reliability of events
It's cool when yachting can be represented in a mainstream family film. However, this approach also has its downsides. Watson understands this perfectly: “Of course, I and other sailors will be a little discouraged when we see some scenes. I've always been obsessed with details. It is important for me to create a believable picture. Yes, I have questions about some of the scenes, but otherwise I really like everything.”
Jessica continues: “I spent a lot of time with the director and the actors, talking about everything that would help to understand the world of yachting. At the same time, my scrupulousness haunted me.” According to Watson, she just had to back away from the details a bit to let the cast and crew work their magic on set.
Some scenes were also filmed more for drama than real story. Some of them are connected with scenes directly on the water. In reality, everything is usually much more boring and prosaic. However, we watch movies for the sake of emotions and ideas, and not for the sake of a perfect, accurate recreation of events. And judging by the words of Jessica herself and the fact that the yachtswoman participated in the press tour of the picture, it clearly makes it clear that the film was shot well enough that the record holder did not deny it.
If you love yachting, then be sure to watch the movie. By the way, you can share your impressions about the film or find out other news from the world of yachting in our Telegram channel. In the meantime, don't forget to rate the content! You can find other interesting articles on the links below or in the "News" section!
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