What You Need To Know:

YOUNG WOMAN AND THE SEA is a terrific historical drama. The movie focuses on the story of Trudy Ederle, a young woman born into a family of German immigrants in Brooklyn in 1905. As a young girl, Trudy learned of a steamboat in New York Harbor that burned and sank, with the loss of 847 lives. Many of the people drowned. So, Trudy decides to take up swimming, something that girls didn’t do. Trudy overcomes all odds and eventually becomes an Olympic swimmer. She then decides to swim the English Channel. The Channel is some of the roughest water, however; so, nobody thinks Trudy can do it.

YOUNG WOMAN AND THE SEA is one of the best movies in a long time. It’s extremely well plotted, superbly directed and beautifully acted, with a rich musical score. YOUNG WOMAN AND THE SEA has a strong morally uplifting worldview with strong Christian, biblical references and values celebrating courage, forgiveness, loyalty, and fortitude. It also has references to prayer, church and the Hand of God. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for younger children because of intense swimming scenes.


(BBB, CC, M):

Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Very strong moral worldview with positive references to prayer, to church, to nuns as chaperones, and all sorts of Christian, biblical virtues as courage, forgiveness, loyalty, fortitude, the Hand of God, and the knowledge that each man and woman is created in the image of God, with historically accurate and not woke refutations of stereotyping and paternalism;

Foul Language:
Three light obscenities which are said so quickly that one character asks “did you say” and the word is not repeated;

Intense jeopardy such as swimmer has to swim through very large murder of jellyfish, a shark is caught in the English Channel, deadly currents in the water, deadly storms, man almost dies trying to swim the English Channel, another man drugs a woman swimming the channel with sleeping pills because he couldn’t make it, and he doesn’t want a woman to make it, man throws a box though a window, man shoots at a boat to keep it away from a woman swimming the Channel;

Very mild marital hugs and parents hugging their children;

Famous English Channel male swimmer has a thong bathing suit and emerges from the water at one point without his thong, but nothing is shown although people at Coney Island scream because he’s naked;

Alcohol Use:
No alcohol use;

Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
No smoking or drugs; and,

Miscellaneous Immorality:
Father has to get over his paternalism, and the Olympic team chairman has to get over his prejudice against women swimming.

More Detail:

YOUNG WOMAN AND THE SEA is one of the best movies in a long time. The movie is extremely well plotted, superbly directed, beautifully acted, and surprisingly uses a full orchestra to produce a rich musical accompaniment.

Based on a true story about a German American family living in Brooklyn in the 1920s, the movie starts with one of the children, Gertrude or Trudy for short, almost dying of measles. Miraculously she recovers, but at the time of her recovery, a steamboat in New York Harbor catches fire and sinks with the loss of 847 lives, many of them part of a church group. Affected by the tragedy, Trudy tells her mother she wants to learn how to swim. However, girls don’t swim, and girls are not supposed to be athletes. In fact, swimming is considered bad for their health. When Trudy persists, her father takes her to Coney Island, ties a rope to her, and Trudy starts to teach herself how to swim.

Eventually, Trudy’s mother locates a woman who’s teaching young women how to race in swimming. The woman accepts Trudy’s sister, Meg, on her developing swim team but won’t take Trudy because she had measles. Eventually, Trudy overcomes all odds. She wins a place on the team and eventually the Chairman of the American Olympic Committee overseeing swimming events has her American woman’s team race against an Australian team. Trudy outperforms everybody.

Trudy becomes a celebrity, and she is accepted on the first American women’s Olympic team, but the coach, a Mr. Wolffe, is prejudiced against the women and refuses to let them train. So, they do badly at the Paris Olympics.

Trudy returns home to find out her sister is engaged to a German boy who’s a butcher like her father in a traditional arranged marriage. Trudy is disappointed with her sister’s situation. Then, when she hears about how difficult it is to swim the 21 miles of the English Channel, she decides to swim the English Channel.

Everything is stacked against Trudy. The American Olympic organizer appoints the same Mr. Wolffe to be her coach, and he tries to sabotage her. However, an Englishman named Mr. Burgess who swam the Channel twice decides to help her.

The English Channel is some of the roughest water, with unpredictable storms and currents, not to mention sharks, jellyfish and treacherous shoals. Nobody thinks Trudy can make it, but will she prove them wrong?

YOUNG WOMAN AND THE SEA is so well constructed that it defines what a movie should be. The movie avoids all the pitfalls of being ultraviolent or hyper-sexual, or loaded with foul language, and just tells a great, great story. In some ways, it’s similar to THE BOYS IN THE BOAT, but even better. Some caution is required for younger children because of the intense jeopardy when Trudy swims the English Channel and also the breaking down of the stereotypical cultural artifacts of the 1920s.

Quality: - Content: +3
Quality: - Content: +4