This takes place in Nantucket, the whaling capital of the early 1800s. One of the first things I was reminded of was the history of whaling. We see the business side of whaling which was to produce the oil for lamps. Killing the whale was a living for men and could be a lucrative one.
Something I learned was that many Quakers lived there and they had the most successful oil processing business of the era.
This was based on the the book of the same name, by author Nathanial Philbrick. The story is based on the tragedy that was the inspiration for Moby Dick which is still a classic even though we no longer live in a world where we are not being entertained 24/7.
Leading actor Chris Hemsworth played well (when doesn't he?) and brought the main character, Owen Chase, to life as a first mate who should have had his own ship long ago. Even after being promised his next trip would be as captain on his own ship, he is told again, not just yet. He sets sail on the Essex, stuck with Captain George Pollard, played admirably by Benjamin Walker. Pollard knows mostly nothing about sailing and was given the ship because his father owns the whaling company. Howard weaves in human drama that adds life to the tale. Owen must perform as captain when tragedy strikes, filling in where Pollard lacks, which is everywhere. The struggle between the two provides tension and watching that struggle, gives a picture of a crew waiting for their leader to shape up, knowing that the mate is the real captain.
In a nutshell they encounter the whale and the whale sinks the ship. The action of fighting the whale with every fiber of their being, was exciting to watch. Their survival after the ship sinks is nothing short of miraculous and they are forced to consider the unthinkable, to survive three months in life boats on the open waters of the Pacific.
The movie begins with the author of Moby Dick, Herman Melville interviewing the last living survivor of the Essex, Captain Pollard. Pollard went to sea again after the tragedy, determined to slay the whale, but his ship wrecked and he was forced to retire. He spends most of his remaining years sinking into an alcoholic depression and ends up as the town watchman. It is at this point that Melville seeks to interview him and we see the movie through the eyes of Pollard reliving the epic journey as he tells it to Melville.
The movie has the personal stories of the main characters woven in which gave it plenty of depth for me. It was entertaining and exciting enough that with a tub of popcorn and my fave movie-watching buddy (my husband) I was satisfied with the story. After all, I watch movies to be entertained and this fit the bill well.
I give In The Heart of The Sea four stars.
Thanks for being here!