The Finest Hours: Thrilling and Inspirational!
By Jen Miyagishima
The Finest Hours is a film based on historical events that took place in New England in 1952. In the beginning, we are introduced to Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), a captain in the U.S. Coast Guard and Miriam (Holliday Grainger), a young woman who works as a telephone operator. What starts out as a double date, gradually grows into something more. Bernie is a man of few words, brooding and introspective. Miriam, on the other hand, is a strong, independent woman who doesn’t shy away from challenging someone (more on that later).
Meanwhile a storm is brewing. It’s not just any storm though – it is a massive storm that splits the SS Pendleton in two, trapping more than 30 sailors inside the tanker’s sinking stern! Panic ensues, fights break out among the men and the sailors squabble about whether to jump ship into the tanker’s lifeboats or remain on board. Lead engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck) quietly steps up to the task of leading the sailors and coming up with a strategy that will keep their half of the boat afloat until they can hopefully be rescued.
As word of the disaster reaches the Coast Guard in Chatham, Massachusetts, Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) orders a daring rescue mission. There is much debate among the men in the Coast Guard office as to which direction they should approach the SS Pendleton. Do they go the long way around, which is essentially an easier route or do they take a more direct course that requires “crossing the bar” but is more dangerous? Bernie is very committed to his job, having a strong sense of honor and duty. So he doesn’t flinch when he is ordered by Cluff to take three men on a lifeboat to try and save the crew of the SS Pendleton.