A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Maiden is a documentary about the pioneering all-female crew of sailors, led by Tracy Edwards, who raced the titular boat in the prestigious Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989-1990. Director Alex Holmes (Stop at Nothing: The Lance Armstrong Story) interviews Edwards and her crew -- as well as male competitors, sports journalists, and Edwards' family and friends -- to chronicle the groundbreaking story. Expect occasional strong language ("f--k," "s--t," etc.) and sexist comments about the Maiden's crew, as well as some discussion of storms and dangers at sea (the women recall a sailor from another boat perishing). Drinking is talked about, and people are shown smoking. Ultimately the film has strong messages about teamwork, communication, perseverance, and courage.
What's the story?
MAIDEN chronicles how 24-year-old Brit Tracy Edwards went from being a cook on charter and racing boats to becoming the skipper of the first all-female crew to enter the prestigious Whitbread Round the World Race in 1989 -- which, at 33,000 nautical miles, is the longest boat race on earth. Through interviews with the now 50-something Tracy, as well as the rest of her crew (a mix of experienced sailors, adventurers, and friends), male competitors, sports journalists, and others, director Alex Holmes explores the sexism and incredulity the women faced. Although no one even expected the Maiden (the boat that the crew refurbished to compete) to finish the first leg of the "ultimate race for a yachtsman," the women went on to prove that they weren't just an attractive side show: They were real competitors who deserved respect.
Is it any good?
A surprisingly moving and thrilling adventure, this little-known story makes for an epic documentary. Audiences don't need to know anything about sailing or yacht races to appreciate and feel utterly absorbed in Holmes' chronicle of not only Edwards and her crew's mission to get the sponsorships necessary to compete in the Whitbread, but also the pulse-quickening details of the race itself. Holmes and editor Katie Bryer capture the tension of the race, interspersing vintage footage with the first-hand accounts.
Although this isn't a game-changing documentary, the women certainly broke noteworthy ground. It's a shame that it's taken decades for these pioneers to get the attention they deserve. Of course there were news pieces about the crew and race in 1989 and 1990, but they mostly covered the "novelty" of the crew rather than the general awe-inspiring nature of Tracy, Jeni, Mikaela, Sally, Dawn, Angela, Claire, Nancy, and the rest of the crew's accomplishment. The story of the female sailors who restored the Maiden (a much smaller-than-average boat) to race in the great ocean race -- and kept going despite a lack of respect, support, or confidence -- sends an outstanding message of perseverance and believing in your dreams.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the issue of sexism in sports. How have things changed since the late 1980s? Are women athletes and competitors still treated differently? Are there gender-based expectations?
What message does the movie send young athletes who, despite their gender, race, or background, want to compete in a particular sport?
Why do you think young Tracy "hates the word 'feminism'"? How does she change her mind later in life? Do you think the idea of feminism can be misunderstood?
- In theaters: June 28, 2019
- Cast: Tracy Edwards
- Director: Alex Holmes
- Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Sports and Martial Arts, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Character Strengths: Communication, Courage, Perseverance, Teamwork
- Run time: 97 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: language, thematic elements, some suggestive content and brief smoking images
- Awards/Honors: Common Sense Seal
- Last edit: July 02, 2019
Find more movies that help kids build character.
Themes & Topics
Browse titles with similar subject matter.
For kids who love inspiring stories
Our editors recommend
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.