Young Woman and the Sea

Verdict: Young Woman and the Sea is an uplifting, inspirational crowd-pleaser that will bring you to tears.

Daisy Ridley plays Gertrude ‘Trudy’ Ederle, the first woman to cross the English Channel in 1926.

If you’re looking for an inspirational crowd-pleasing film about a pioneering sportswoman, Young Woman and the Sea is for you.

This biographical sports drama tells the story of Gertrude ‘Trudy’ Ederle (Daisy Ridley), a competitive swimmer who defied the odds and proved naysayers wrong by becoming the first woman to swim across the English Channel in 1926.

There have been many movies about remarkable sporting achievements so Young Woman and the Sea hits a lot of familiar beats and the storyline is both familiar and predictable.

While you may hold that against the film in the first half, you will forget about it in the second once Trudy leaves the French shore and makes her way to England. You will become invested in her journey, willing her to keep on going despite the almost impossible challenges facing her on the swim.

Female viewers may find this film particularly inspiring and empowering. The drama is set in a society where women are supposed to simply get married, run a home and have kids, even if they had dreams about pursuing a career.

Trudy is a trailblazer and a woman ahead of her time – she remains steadfast in her pursuit of sporting excellence, even if her father Henry (Kim Bodnia) doesn’t immediately support it. Trudy, who faced lots of sexism in her career, paved the way for women to be taken seriously in sport and represented to others that there were more options available to them in life.

The heart of the story is Trudy’s relationship with her sister Meg (Tilda Cobham-Hervey), a fellow swimmer who was unable to break free from society’s constraints. But she does not resent Trudy and instead supports her throughout her journey.

Ridley is excellent – she nails the gruelling physical side of the role and channels Trudy’s grit and determination.

It is easy to compare this to Nyad, another film about long-distance swimming, because it came out so recently. They do hit familiar beats but the period sets it apart – Diana Nyad was doing it for herself whereas Trudy was doing it for all women. She knew that if she failed, people would assume no woman could ever do it.

Young Woman and the Sea is an uplifting crowd-pleaser that will bring you to tears. Make sure you bring tissues!

In cinemas from Friday 31st May.

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