Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Digging Into the Cannes Lineup: More Vet Auteurs and Women, No Netflix Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' Ryan Gosling in Talks for 'Blade Runner' Sequel, Damien Chazelle's 'La La Land' You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents You Can Now Read Over 200,000 Leaked Sony Emails and Documents Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch: The New 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' Trailer Has Landed Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein Watch: This Exclusive Tribeca Trailer Promises a Vérité Southern Gothic in Malick Vein 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC 'Queen of Earth,' Starring a Gloriously Unhinged Elisabeth Moss, Goes to IFC Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Cary Fukunaga Takes Over Long-Stalled 'The Alienist' as TV Series Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition Why the Istanbul Film Festival Cancelled Its 2015 Competition MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) MTV Movie Awards 2015: The Highs, the Lows and the Winners List (Videos) Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' Arthouse Audit: 'Ex Machina' Leads Four Big Openers, Kristen Stewart Opens 'Clouds of Sils Maria' From 'Boyhood' to 'Boy Next Door,' the 2015 MTV Movie Awards Noms Are All Over the Map From 'Boyhood' to 'Boy Next Door,' the 2015 MTV Movie Awards Noms Are All Over the Map 25 Years Ago I Wrote: "Hollywood's Female Stars An Endangered Species" 25 Years Ago I Wrote: "Hollywood's Female Stars An Endangered Species" The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' The New Ladder: Anatomy of Indie Women's Picture 'Farah Goes Bang' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Here's the First Image of Emma Stone and Joaquin Phoenix in Woody Allen's 'Irrational Man' Reese Witherspoon Nabs 'Luckiest Girl Alive' with Lionsgate, with "a wily, intelligent, complex narrator" Reese Witherspoon Nabs 'Luckiest Girl Alive' with Lionsgate, with "a wily, intelligent, complex narrator" Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Kristen Stewart Explains How She Held Her Own with Juliette Binoche in 'Sils Maria'--and Won a Cesar Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever Scientists Choose the 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies Ever Ryan Gosling Reveals How and Why He Shot 'Lost River' Ryan Gosling Reveals How and Why He Shot 'Lost River'

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