The Los Angeles Times main film critic Kenneth Turan reviewed the film on Wednesday. How big a glowing rave is it? Let's just say -- I tries nots to steer you wrong. He begins this way: "Maiden tells a mighty tale about the majesty of the human spirit and the power of women, and it’s all true." And it goes from there.
Here are two, extended passages. The first --
No matter what your expectations, this heartening doc about disregarding skeptics and moving ahead has the ways and means to take you by surprise, thrill you and make you cry.
It starts with the expert way director Alex Holmes (who first heard the story when Edwards spoke at his daughter’s London elementary school) and editor Katie Bryer have assembled footage from the period, material that was by no means easy to find.
Everything from the contents of a huge plastic box accumulated by Edwards’ collector mother to vintage video from news outlets worldwide was tracked down, with the best stuff being on-the-boat verité video filmed by Joanna Gooding, “Maiden’s” cook and a friend of Edwards since they were pre-teens.
What makes “Maiden” truly special, however, are the present-day interviews conducted with the skipper and almost all the members of her 12-woman crew, each of whom is determined to be as candid and forthcoming as they can about the extraordinary, life-altering events they were part of.
And the review ends with this --
As if more complications were needed, Edwards, 26 when the race began, confesses to self-destructive insecurities, doubts and fears that led to conflicts with crew members, including a last-minute confrontation that made her so angry with one woman “I wanted to rip her throat out.”
Amazing as it may seem, all of this pre-race drama was nothing compared with the contest itself. “Maiden” gives full weight to each of the Whitbread’s six legs and the unexpected dramatic elements every one of them contained, from horrific weather conditions to boat mishaps and more.
As they relate their still-astounding story, captain and crew are often in tears, and audiences savvy enough to take in this remarkable film can count on joining them.
You can read the full review here.
I tries nots to steer you wrong.
Here's a brief, 4-minute interview with Tracy Edwards, the skipper who was the driving force putting together the team, and Alex Holmes who directed the film -- which he got the idea to make after attending a speech by Edwards at his young daughter's school.
By the way, one of the things I referenced in my original article was that the documentary leaps out because they had SO much footage aboard the boat -- along with great archival footage of Tracy Edwards' life before she got into sailing. In an L.A. Times article by Susan King that I read, it explained more in detail how this came about.
Director Holmes said that he initially envisioned the project as a narrative film, because it never occurred to him that there would be footage of the race. It was only after Tracy Edwards told him that they actually did have cameras on board that he realized it might be possible to make as a documentary.
Edwards herself fills in the holes how that surprising reality came about --.
"The Royal Naval Sailing Association, which was our race committee, had this quite revolutionary idea to film stuff. It was all very exciting. All the other boats were going 'No, no no — we’re too busy racing; we’re too serious to take cameras on board.'
"We said, 'We’ll take them.' We did feel that we wanted to, whatever happened, capture this for posterity. I think we were probably the only boat with two cameras because Jo, as the cook, said, 'I am not doing the watch, so I’ll do the filming.' And we put a camera on the mast as well. If you heard 'All hands on deck,' the job of the last person out was to hit the panic button and that would start the filming. So that’s how we got footage in extreme conditions."