Directed by Sarah Spillane and released in February 2023, the biopic True Spirit , made with the participation of the Netflix streaming channel, can safely be called a very emotional and very instructive film that stands out among the melodramas that have been released recently in sufficient numbers.
The plot is based on the real-life story of sixteen-year-old Australian sailor Jessica Watson, played by Teagan Croft. For more than ten years, this teenage girl has become the youngest person to travel around the world alone and without assistance. Jessica not only overcame the incredible difficulties that constantly arose in front of her, but also put many people in the belt who did not believe that she could achieve her goal.
Then, in 2009, at the age of 16, Jessica promised to accomplish this great human feat. Despite everything against her, including a failed test run and naysayers who want to stop her trip due to fears for her safety, she pursues her dream, even though the cost is incredibly high.
What is True Spirit about?
Jessica’s first and only test run didn’t go too well. She forgot to turn on the alarm on her boat and was asleep when the freighter crashed into her boat. The press frets over these major setbacks, with people around her heavily criticizing her parents for thinking of letting her continue her plan to sail alone for seven months around the world.
To the already obvious danger facing her, Jessica’s dyslexia is added, which becomes a huge problem when swimming in endless open water, since this disease does not allow you to clearly read coordinates and view travel maps.
Jessica’s spirit is slightly broken when her mentor Ben asks her to come with him. They go to the boat repair dock. And there, to her amazement and undisguised delight, her ship, so battered by the accident, is being repaired by a whole team of professionals. A little later, the girl’s family also appears, who all together also rush to help in the repair. This gives Jessica the necessary amount of courage, and she decides to continue to pursue her dream.
Further, the action is transferred for some time forward. And now it is clear that the main character has already swum far from the nearest shores and spent several weeks at sea and achieved a lot. But here a huge problem arises that cannot be solved on its own – the tailwind has disappeared. More precisely, it does not exist at all.
After several days of no progress, Jessica begins to become depressed and lose her motivation. She stops answering satellite calls and struggles with her daily activities, but looking at the clear starry sky, the girl remembers why she is doing this and pulls herself together. Eventually the wind returns and the boat rushes back through the turbulent Pacific waters.
Jessica then talks to her sister on the phone while studying the weather at the same time. The casual conversation turns serious when Jessica asks to be connected to her mother, who is at Ben’s side. Each of them begs the main character to do the safer thing, namely to give up and find the nearest port. But Jessica does not listen, and instead decides to survive the approaching mega-storm at all costs.
Upon entering its epicenter, the boat is completely turned upside down, and Jessica is under water. Just at the moment when she thinks that she is finished, the ship returns to its correct position and stands evenly on the raging surface.
After such a shake-up, Jessica finally becomes firmly convinced that now she will succeed, and she will achieve the realization of her dream. In the end, the exhausted but happy girl proudly returns to Sydney, where 80,000 Australians greet her with smiles and tears on the shore.
The meaning of the film “True Spirit”
In its direction and meaning, this inspiring melodramatic biopic is definitely suitable for both inspiring family viewing and for young audiences, giving them the right moral attitude to always be purposeful.
Especially emotionally touches the soul when the frames show Jessica, who, sitting on a deck crumpled from the storm, suffers from depression and loneliness. Her hours of crying are interrupted by a call from her mother, who reassures Jessica that her family is always with her.
Another tense moment in the film comes when Jessica gets into a fight with her older friend and trainer Ben. She says hurtful things to him, encouraging him to leave. Luckily, Ben comes to her rescue in time, and the coach-student duo eventually patch things up.
Jessica crosses the equator and everyone celebrates, but this joy is short-lived due to a terrible storm. Even though she struggles through the storm, the audience soon realizes that her troubles are only just beginning.
Later, when she notices numerous storms coming, Ben and her family advise her to get to the nearest port and abandon the journey. However, Jessica finds a way to deal with the storms – she moves with them instead of trying to survive them. In a shocking turn of events, a giant wave hits her yacht and she sinks 15 feet underwater.
Her family, who are now unable to contact her, believe they have lost her. Just as they begin to grieve, the yacht resurfaces and Jessica calls her family to confirm that she is all right.
When the storm passes, Jessica goes out on the deck of the yacht to bask in the rain and celebrate her glory. Her family tells the media that she is fine. Reporters and subscribers around the world rejoice that Jessica is almost home.
After she finally gets home, she is greeted in Sydney by her family, as well as a huge crowd waiting to greet her. She then gives a speech in which she says that she does not consider herself a hero and wants her accomplishments to inspire ordinary people to reach extraordinary milestones.
Explanation of the ending of the film “True Spirit “
Despite the criticism, Jessica, motivated by her family, mentor and the sailing community, was determined to make her dream come true. She has been training for years, honing her sailing skills and preparing for a difficult 210 day trip around the world.
And now Jessica has only one cape left on her way to the completion of the circumnavigation of the world, when she sees that a huge storm is approaching, worse than any that she has ever encountered. During a phone call, the family urges her to seek refuge in a nearby port, but that would mean giving up on a target that is within her reach.
But Jessica thinks of all the people around the world who are waiting to see if she completes her mission and decides to weather the storm. This not only shows that Jessica Watson has surpassed all those who doubted her ability to achieve her goals, but also touches on her additional problem – dyslexia.
Ultimately, the True Spirit ends with Jessica successfully returning to the ship bay of her native Sydney, completing her truly heroic journey and thereby setting a new age world record. People living in Sydney celebrate her return as she hugs her parents and siblings.
The film itself closes with sentimental footage of the real Jessica Watson, her return home, and even videos that she filmed herself during her journey.