True Spirit, the Jessica Watson story

Teagan Croft in True Spirit

True Spirit tells the true story of Jessica Watson, an Australian girl who had a dream – a seemingly impossible dream – and made it happen. At 16, she became the youngest person to ever sail solo around the world.

True Spirit builds through several stages in Jessica’s life. It begins with her struggling to learn to read (she has dyslexia) ends with her trip around the world. The teen Jessica is played by Teagan Croft.

Teagan Croft in True Spirit

The scenes on the water in the sailboat “Pink” looked very realistic. There were days of smooth sailing, days in the doldrums, and terrifying storms. It all looked convincing. There was so much beauty, too. Whales and dolphins and starry nights.

The film was written and directed by Sarah Spillane, based on the book by Jessica Watson.

Very early in her life, Jessica Watson decided to sail the globe alone. She announced her intentions to her family and the world. She made a plan and worked to accomplish it. She never wavered in her determination.

Anna Paquin, Cliff Curtis, Josh Lawson, Vivien Turner, Stacy Clausen, and Bridget Webb in True Spirit
Jessica’s family hears word that she’s survived a storm

Jessica was one of four children. Her parents, played by Anna Paquin and Roger Watson were worried but supportive. Her siblings were Emily (Bridget Webb), Hannah (Vivien Turner), and Tom (Stacy Clausen). Hannah, the youngest, was the one who got to march out the front door to face a barrage of reporters destroying the front lawn and give them progress reports on Jessica’s trip.

Hidden towards the back of the photo above you see Jessica’s sailing coach, Ben (Cliff Curtis).

Jessica was in touch with Ben and her family using a satellite phone. She made videos of her trip which her sister Emily put on a blog for her. People all over the world watched her progress. Jessica still maintains a website.

Watching the film I was often reminded of Losing Sight of Shore, a very different but equally harrowing story of women versus the ocean.

No matter how bad things get in the world, there are always women and girls who can inspire us and make us realize the strength of the human spirit. True Spirit is an inspiring and amazing film about a remarkable accomplishment and a remarkable woman. It’s on Netflix now.

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