Maiden – Film Review

Maiden is a documentary that tells the remarkable story of how British sailor Tracy Edwards was the skipper of the first all-female team to participate in the Whitbread Round the World Race.

Tracy Edwards was having a good childhood. She had a supportive mother and father that always encouraged her to follow her dreams and to not give up. But at the age of 10, her father passed away due to a sudden heart attack and things started to go from bad to worse. Her mother’s new partner was an alcoholic and physically abusive towards Tracy. Things at school weren’t much better with Tracy being suspended multiple times, even failing to attend her O-Levels.

After school, Tracy worked at a bar but while she was on a friend’s boat deck and happened to stumble upon a book which contained photographs from the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race. She was so inspired by the photographs in the book that she wanted to participate in any way that she could.

Tracy first asked if she could be the cook on the yacht, but she was rejected. However, as she was raised to not give up on her dreams, Tracy was persistent and was eventually hired as the yachts cook. This notion made news at the time, as it was this was in association with a male dominated sport. Tracy would go on to make some more news of her own as she wasn’t content being just the cook. She wanted to participate in the race and be the skipper of an all-female team. 

Over the course of the next three years, Tracy recruited members for her team and went to extraordinary lengths to purchase a yacht and gain funding to participate in the race. The media and the other teams didn’t take the all-female team very seriously, but with determination the girls were willing to prove their worth in the sport.

The documentary mixes archival footage with modern interviews with the members of the Maiden team, as well as the male competitors and journalist from the time. I did find it interesting to hear what the journalist had to say as they admit that they did not think that the girls could do it and they did not show the same support toward girls as they did for the male teams. Although I am not a fan of yacht racing myself, Maiden held my interest, despite not being a fan of the sport.

I found Tracy very inspiring. It looked like she wasn’t going to go anywhere but she found something that she was passionate about and wanted to do the best that should could. This really shows in footage of her on the yacht sitting at a table with paper and a pencil, trying to figure out a plan for the race. You can see the frustration on her face when she is unable to come up with a plan and you can also see how happy she is when her ideas work. As a viewer, you do feel every success and every failure that her and the team go through.

Maiden is a film about following your dreams and not giving up in the face of adversity. This is the kind of film that can inspire you, especially if you have any self-doubt about what you are doing with your life or if you think that your dreams are too far out of reach. If you ever feel this way, then I suggest watching this film and you will be inspired by what can be achieved.

Maiden debuted at the Toronto Film Festival in 2018 and since then has been played at various different film festivals throughout 2019. It will be played at Open Air Cinema on December 5

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