Rating: 4 stars.
This film, directed by Michael Apted (and completed by Curtis Hanson
in the last 15 days of shooting while Apted was ill), is based
on a true story about professional surfer Jay Moriarity. The movie
takes place when Jay was age 15, who was played by the bright-eyed,
innocent Jonny Weston.
The story takes place in Santa Cruz, California in its local surf
scene as well as surrounding suburbs. Young Jay, at the age of 8 or so,
is in awe of the size and frequency of waves that were breaking on the shore.
While staring transfixed at the waves, his neighbor and childhood sweetheart
Kim accidentally lets her puppy fall into the crashing waves and Jay tries
to save it. Both are rescued by his neighbor and future mentor “Frosty”,
a local surfer and neighbor played by Gerald Butler (of “300”).
The story fast forwards to Jay as a 15 year old, where
he had quickly become a local fixture in the surf scene. In one instance,
he had spied on his neighbor Frosty when he and his friends travelled
to a remote shore to surf big waves or “Mavericks.” He was in awe of their
skill and courage. Jay became determined to do as they did and approached
Frosty with his deep yearning.
The film progresses with Jay’s initiation and training for this goal.
Tension with the local surf scene, problems at home, struggling to earn
a living at a local pizza joint, and attempting to win the heart of
Kim all highlight larege portions of the movie.
The story really takes the audience into the depth and spirituality
of “soul surfers” and shows the appreciation true surfers have
for nature and their craft. Also, there are great scenes
that captured the landscape and turbulent shores of Santa Cruz.
I would recommend this film to anyone even mildly interested in the
surf scene, in watching someone fulfill their passion, and in viewing
a beautiful movie that unveils aspects of the art of surfing including
weather forecasting, wave patterns, and holding one’s breath for
several minutes. Why this movie did not have a big release and why
it went straight to DVD is beyond me. Also, I regret that I had
found out about Jay Moriarity so late as he is quite the inspirational
Link to movie: Chasing Mavericks