KSL Movie Show review: ‘Young Woman and the Sea’ is a family MUST see

May 31, 2024, 7:00 AM | Updated: 8:52 am

The story of competitive swimmer Trudy Ederle, the first woman to ever swim across the English Chan...

The story of competitive swimmer Trudy Ederle, the first woman to ever swim across the English Channel.

Editor’s note: This is an editorial piece. An editorial, like a news article, is based on fact but also shares opinions. The opinions expressed here are solely those of the author and are not associated with our newsroom.

SALT LAKE CITY — When someone tells me “you’ve just got to see this movie!” – I don’t normally respond with great enthusiasm, because I’m often disappointed.  Even if it’s someone’s opinion I respect, I’m still a bit leery. 

So when I strongly suggest that “you’re really gonna want to see this movie,” I fully understand your skepticism, hesitation, and even reluctance. But trust me, even if it’s just this one time – GO SEE “Young Woman and the Sea.”

I will do my best to explain why because these little gems make my job worth doing week in and week out, year after year. 

Little Gertrude “Trudy” Ederle was not supposed to survive a night of fever from a bout with measles. She did, but she suffered some hearing loss.  Her father ran a butcher shop in Manhattan in the early 1900s where the two girls, Trudy and Meg, and a son, Henry Jr., pitched in where they could.

Trudy’s mother was German-born but was determined to make America their home. She wanted to give her children every opportunity to succeed, even if it meant going against her strict husband and social norms.

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In the early 1920s, it was considered taboo to allow women to swim. Unladylike, they said.  Despite the father’s objections, the mother insisted her girls learn to swim. Her insistence came after a tragic ferry fire in the harbor killed most of the women and children because they couldn’t swim even the short distance to the pier. 

She also knew her girls had an affinity for the water, so she enrolled them in an all-girls swim club. The coach only wanted the older sister Meg, but Mom got her to reconsider by promising that Trudy (Daisy Ridley) would stoke the building’s coal-fired boiler while the other girls were training. 

At first, Trudy was told not to get water in her ears, worried that her hearing loss might worsen. But as she eventually learned, the new method of freestyle swimming required a tight swim cap which was all she could rely upon.

She was determined to swim as fast as possible.

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Her speed became legendary. She began setting national and even world records, leading to an invite to represent the United States in the 1924 Paris Olympics. She didn’t exactly shine there, because the girls were kept in the ship’s cabins for the transatlantic voyage, while the boys trained on deck. 

Seeking new challenges in 1926, Trudy decides she wants to be the first woman to swim across the English Channel. That’s some 21 miles of rough seas, shifting currents, freezing waters and any number of cranky sea creatures. Only five men had accomplished that feat. And of course, they all thought she was crazy.

If you thought the movie was good before, this is where things really get cooking. And I know the biggest fear at this point is that Disney is really going to cheese it up with over-simplified characters, rousing speeches and dramatic music. Admittedly there is a touch of that, but I think the film walks the fine line between actual drama and melodrama with honesty. 

The results are inspiring, heartwarming and heroic.  I teared up more than a few times as it really got to me. This is one for the whole family, maybe minus the little ones (under 5).  Yes, I was told “Young Woman and the Sea” was a great movie and now I can tell you that I couldn’t agree more. 

YOUNG WOMAN AND THE SEA (A) Rated PG for thematic elements, some language and partial nudity. Starring Daisy Ridley, Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Stephen Graham, Kim Bodnia and Jeanette Hain. Directed by Joachim Rønning (“Kon-Tiki” “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales”) – filmed in Bulgaria, New York and Paris. Running time: 129 minutes

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500.

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KSL Movie Show review: ‘Young Woman and the Sea’ is a family MUST see