MAIDEN – Review by Susan Wloszczyna

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Sometimes the word “heroine” just won’t do. The documentary Maiden tells the inspirational story of Tracy Edwards, a true feminist hero who, at the age of 24, willed herself into becoming the skipper of the first all-women yacht crew to race around the world in 1989. Her only real sea-faring experience was as a cook and cleaner on charter boats. But with King Hussein of Jordan as her unlikely benefactor, she and her 12-women team managed collect enough money to renovate an aluminum vessel that they dubbed Maiden and made unexpected history.

Director Alex Holmes gracefully cuts back and forth from stirring archival footage of the Whitbread Round the World Yacht Race as cameras get up close and personal with the female crew. They had to deal with the misogynistic male-dominated media – one of whom called their yacht “a tin full of tarts.” But while current-day Edwards fully admits on camera to having character flaws, she and her teammates did their jobs, always had each other’s backs, didn’t argue and actually exceeded their expectations and that of the chauvinistic competitors about what they could achieve.

Holmes rightfully wallows in footage of huge waves crashing into the Maiden. When we hear Edwards speaking in a voiceover as thunderous waves threaten, “The ocean is always trying to kill you,” it doesn’t feel like an exaggeration. After a less than perfect performance on one leg of the race, Tracy decides to have the women shave their legs and put on their body-hugging swimsuits to distract the press from noticing. But she regretted stooping to such a stunt.

No fair spoiling the ending but let’s just say it doesn’t matter if the women won or lost. That they cleared at least one hurdle for female kind was enough to make them the public cheer their success.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Maiden is AWFJ’s Movie of the Week for June 28, 2019

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Susan Wloszczyna

In her nearly 30 years at USA Today, Susan Wloszczyna interviewed everyone from Vincent Price and Shirley Temple to Julia Roberts and Will Smith. Her coverage specialties include animation, musicals, comedies and any film starring Hayley Mills, Sandy Dennis or hobbits. Her crowning career achievements so far, besides having Terence Stamp place his bare feet in her lap during an interview for The Limey, is convincing the paper to send her to New Zealand twice for set visits, once for The Return of the King and the other for The Chronicles of Narnia and King Kong, and getting to be a zombie extra and interview George Romero in makeup on the set for Land of the Dead. Though not impressive enough for Pulitzer consideration, she also can be blamed for coining the moniker "Frat Pack," often used to describe the comedy clique that includes Ben Stiller, Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell. Her positions have included Life section copy desk chief for four years and a film reviewer for 12 years. She is currently a senior editor for the online awards site Gold Derby. Previously, she has been a freelance film reporter and critic, contributing regularly to RogerEbert.com, MPAA’s The Credits, the Washington Post, AARP The Magazine online and Indiewire as well as being a book reviewer for The Buffalo News. She previously worked as a feature editor at the Niagara Gazette in Niagara Falls, N.Y. A Buffalo native, she earned her bachelor's degree in English at Canisius College and a master's degree in journalism from Syracuse University.