Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Gaspar Noé's List of 10 Favorite Films Makes Perfect, Terrifying Sense Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Jon Hamm Wants You to Know There's Hope for Don Draper After 'Mad Men' Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Women Fight Back at Cannes, From Megan Ellison to Emily Blunt Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Of Time & Life: How 'Mad Men' Remade Television Nikki Finke Returns Nikki Finke Returns Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Goes Crazy for Jeremy Saulnier's Gruesome Neo-Nazis vs. Punks Horror 'Green Room' Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Cannes Festival Is Dominated by Two Hollywood Masters Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Top Ten Takeaways: Sequels Rule as Women Boost 'Pitch Perfect 2,' 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Also Strong Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock Cannes: Directors from Fincher to Scorsese Revisit Truffaut's Famous Interview with Hitchcock 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release 'Pitch Perfect 2' Outperforms 'Mad Max: Fury Road'; 'Ultron' Is Now Top 2015 Release Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Kristen Stewart Re-Teams with Her 'Sils Maria' Director for Ghost Story Set in Fashion World Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) Watch: Netflix's Ted Sarandos Heckled at Cannes, Gets Weinstein on His Feet During Heated Debate (VIDEO) George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" George Miller and DP John Seale Go Inside 'Mad Max: Fury Road': "It Was Like Being in a Video Game" Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Natalie Portman's Passion Project 'Tale of Love and Darkness' Splits Cannes Critics Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Cannes: 'Dogtooth' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Scores with Surreal, Macabre 'The Lobster' (Review and Roundup) Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes Weinstein Co. Offers Strong Slate at Cannes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Auteur George Miller Does It His Way, No Matter How Long It Takes The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' The Top 20 Episodes of 'Mad Men' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' How the 'Mad Max: Fury Road' Score Paid Homage to Hitchcock's 'Vertigo' Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A) Why Kevin Costner Paid for 'Black or White' (New Trailer, Sneak Preview Q & A)

Review: In Documentary 'Maidentrip,' Laura Dekker Looks for Paradise in a Sea that Never Ends

Photo of Beth Hanna By Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood January 16, 2014 at 1:47PM

Jillian Schlesinger's "Maidentrip" chronicles Dutch teen Laura Dekker's sail around the globe, a feat which would win her the title in 2012 of youngest person in history to make the voyage alone. Observant and unassuming, the documentary looks at the significance of Laura's trip not in terms of records, but as a rite of passage.
1
"Maidentrip"
"Maidentrip"

Jillian Schlesinger's "Maidentrip," which debuted at SXSW and screened at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, chronicles Dutch teen Laura Dekker's sail around the globe at age 14, a feat which would win her the title in 2012 of youngest person in history to make the voyage alone. Observant and unassuming, the documentary looks at the significance of Laura's trip not in terms of records, but as a rite of passage, and as a way for the teen to negotiate her past.

The film gets the ugly stuff out of the way first. Following Dekker's announcement to sail in 2009, she and her father were embroiled in a ten-month legal battle. Dutch authorities claimed that Laura needed a custody transfer, while the internet tossed words at her including "arrogant," "spoiled" and the particularly nasty sentiment: "I hope she sinks." After a year of warring with the courts and shouldering waves of media opinion, Laura was permitted to make her voyage, and to remain under her father's custody. This period in time Schlesinger keeps to an economical five-minute montage.

Indeed, "Maidentrip" is pleasantly free from the hysteria that surrounded Laura Dekker for over a year, and instead presents her trip in a judgment-free manner. It neither suggests (as it understandably could) that 14 is an alarmingly young age to traverse the mightily unforgiving Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, nor takes a blindly positive "Ra! Ra! Go Laura!" stance (as would be tempting, given that Laura proves herself an admirable badass in many ways). 

Instead, Laura is portrayed as an independent outsider, at once open-hearted, enviably confident and a bit prickly, sick of what she sees as daily life in Holland (which she rounds up succinctly: "Get money, get a house, get a husband, get a baby, then die"). She pines for a truly outsized adventure. While other young record-holding sailors completed the round-world trip without lengthy stops at ports, Laura gives herself two years for the excursion, so that she can soak in the land-bound culture of the different climes where she alights (among them French Polynesia, Australia, the Galapagos Islands and South Africa).

A large portion of the footage we see was filmed exclusively by Laura while onboard. To be eligible as a record-holder, she was allowed no crewmates while captaining her trusty boat The Guppy, so Dekker acts as her own camera operator and narrator, periodically filming herself throughout her trip, commenting on the winds, weather and whatever else might be on her mind.

This article is related to: Reviews, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, Documentary, Documentaries, Maidentrip


E-Mail Updates






Festivals on TOH