‘Maidentrip,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


There is a lovely simplicity to Jillian Schlesinger’s film “Maidentrip,” which includes the credit “made with Laura Dekker.”

Dekker was the Dutch girl who, in 2010, at the age of 14, set sail from Gibraltar in a quest to be the youngest person ever to circumnavigate the globe alone in a sailboat. Schlesinger’s film assembles footage Dekker shot herself, with cameras mounted on her boat, and puts it together with scenes Schlesinger captured at stops during the journey.

Schlesinger frames the film as she thumbnails Dekker’s youth: spent her first three years living at sea before settling down on land, child of divorce, father an avid sailor who taught and encouraged her, mother mostly absent. She then synopsizes the court battle by the government to stop Laura, out of a fear for her safety.

Dekker prevailed in court, then set off – and that is mostly the movie. But what a subject: At 14, Laura Dekker has the poise, confidence, fearlessness and skill of someone two or three times her age. She talks to the camera and, at times, she’s just a teenager, sometimes bored by the long days alone on the ocean.

But she also has the presence to revel in the thing that made her do this in the first place: the freedom that comes with being thousands of miles from another human being, the thrill of the wind in her hair as she skims across the water on a good day.

This review continues on my website.

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