The Finest Hours Review: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Holliday Grainger

I love movies that are based on true stories, especially when they show photos of the real-life people over the end credits, as they do with “The Finest Hours.” There’s a reason this story is known as one of the greatest rescue missions in the history of the Coast Guard. What a harrowing boat ride!

And Chris Pine is always so adorable, whether he’s playing Captain Kirk in the new “Star Trek” movies or a responsible Coast Guard captain on an impossible mission in dangerous waters in “The Finest Hours.” Read on for my The Finest Hours review.


Based on the book by Michael Tougias and directed by Craig Gillespie, “The Finest Hours” tells the true story of, yes, the greatest small boat rescue in Coast Guard history.

Chris Pine, Casey Affleck and Holliday Grainger star in The Finest Hours
Chris Pine, Casey Affleck and Holliday Grainger star in The Finest Hours

On Feb. 18, 1952, a massive nor’easter struck New England, pummeling the Eastern seaboard and wreaking havoc on the ships caught in its deadly path, including the SS Pendleton, a T-2 oil tanker bound for Boston, which was literally ripped in half, trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly-sinking stern.


First Assistant Engineer Ray Sybert (Casey Affleck – love seeing him back on the big screen), the senior officer on board, realizes he must take charge of the frightened crew and inspire the men to work together to ride out the storm – despite the objections of the self-centered captain.

Meanwhile at the U.S. Coast Guard station in Chatham, Massachusetts, Warrant Officer Daniel Cluff (Eric Bana) orders a daring rescue operation, sending four men, led by Coast Guard Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) and including Andrew Fitzgerald (Kyle Gallner), Ervin Maske (John Magaro), and Richard P. Livsey (Ben Foster) as his crew, out in a wooden lifeboat with an ill-equipped engine and little means of navigation to face frigid temperatures, 70-foot high waves and hurricane-force winds.


Webber’s fiance, Holliday Grainger (who looks like she’s right out of this time period), is not going to sit idly by as her man heads out on a suicide mission, so she confronts Cluff and orders him to bring the men back in.

“The Finest Hours” is a great movie to see when you’re facing an obstacle in your life. Hey, if these guys can embark on an impossible mission to save a ship’s crew during the worst storm in history, we can overcome whatever’s in our way. And the scenes of peril put you right in the ocean with these guys. Great job, director Craig Gillespie!


By the way, here’s a bit of trivia for you. The original Coast Guard lifeboat launch used to rescue the Pendleton survivors, CG36500, still exists and is maintained in perfect condition at Rock Harbor in Orleans, Massachusetts.


“The Finest Hours” includes scenes of danger and frightening natural violence, with fierce waves, winds and snow. Characters are knocked around on boats, body-slammed against the decks of ships, and drowned, in some cases. Language includes “hell” and “jackass,” and there’s some drinking in pubs. Romance includes one chaste kiss.


  • MPAA RATING: PG-13 for intense sequences of peril
  • RELEASE DATE: Jan. 19, 2016 (2D, 3D, IMAX 3D)
  • AGE GROUPS: Ok for Kids 13+
  • STUDIO: Disney
  • REEL REVIEW: 4 of 5 Reels



One Reel – Even the Force can’t save it.
Two Reels – Coulda been a contender
Three Reels – Something to talk about.
Four Reels – You want the truth? Great flick!
Five Reels – Wow! The stuff dreams are made of.

Images used with permission from the studios.


4 responses to “The Finest Hours Review: Chris Pine, Casey Affleck, Holliday Grainger”

  1. JUDITH Avatar

    I totally agree! It’s so inspiring that these were ordinary men who rose to the occasion to do something heroic! Great cast too, Pine and Afflec were terrific.

    1. Jane Boursaw Avatar

      Thanks for the note! Yeah, I really liked this movie a lot. That Holliday Grainger was born in the wrong era. She looks like she stepped out of the 1940s and 50s.

  2. Iván S. Avatar

    When I first saw the title I thought of one of my fav flight simulator games from my teen days, but it has nothing to do with it. Looks really interesting! Thanks for reccomending it, I will be looking forward to watch this.

  3. […] absolutely loved The Finest Hours when it hit theaters back in January (read my review here), and the bonus features on the new Blu-ray Combo Pack build on the awesomeness of the […]

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