Gerard Butler shines in surfer flick ‘Chasing Mavericks’
Published: Friday, October 26, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 17:11
Chasing Mavericks is a gripping movie about pursuing dreams even when doing so seems impossible.
Jay, a high schooler struggling to balance a job, school and caring for his mom, finds solace in the bliss of California waves. The first scene shows him, curious and eager to learn, standing atop a cliff and watching surfers below.
He sees, with shock, surfers braving massive waves known as mavericks — urban legends that these surfers have worked hard to keep under wraps.
The waves are dozens of feet high, strong enough to pummel you into what feels like concrete water, and able to drag you into jagged rocks at the shore.
Still, Jay is seduced by the challenge of learning to overcome these waves’ challenges — something very few have ever done.
With only twelve weeks until the swells die down and the waves leave, Jay enlists his neighbor Frosty’s help to train his body and mind to be able to conquer the ocean.
“There are many different types of sons —some are born to you, some just come to you.”
So says Frosty’s wife as she witnesses Frosty take on a father role to Jay. Frosty’s gruff exterior masks a big heart while Jay’s seemingly innocent persona hides a deep drive to succeed.
An unlikely pair, yet one that works, Frosty takes Jay under his wing by welcoming him into his life and his home. The two, both desperately in need of a friend, grow from weight training and paddleboarding to helping each other through hardships and inspiring each other to keep going.
The plot is predictable, because it outlines Jay’s journey to ride the biggest of waves, but backstories about his job, childhood sweetheart and family bond keep the two-hour movie engaging. The story is laced with sadness and hardship, which makes viewers root for the protagonists to overcome the obstacles and rejoice with them when they do.
Chasing Mavericks is shot so realistically and close to the water that you can almost feel the sun and ocean breeze.
It is both calming, as the waves lap the characters’ boards, and terrifying, as they are trapped tumbling under waves for minutes at a time.
The actors portray both the anguish of loss and the joy of overcoming hardships in a beautiful way. Their portrayals give this movie heart and making it stand apart from other surf movies of its kind.
Even though the movie ends on a bittersweet note, on the whole uplifting, which makes it appeal to a vast audience.
Those who enjoy surfing, of course, will love the realistic feel of the movie. Those who want a love story will not be disappointed. Those who need a reminder that anything is possible will be inspired to chase their own mavericks.