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Chasing Mavericks: Movie Review

Hannah Goodwyn


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Based on the true story of American surfer Jay Moriarity, Chasing Mavericks explores the depths of a young man's passion for surfing, the love he longs for, the value of joy and just how fleeting our time is on this Earth.

Starring Gerard Butler (500, Machine Gun Preacher) and newcomer Jonny Weston, as Jay, this new movie from 20th Century Fox is a feel-good, family-friendly flick. Unfortunately, though Chasing Mavericks thrills with some major wave riding (some of which is clearly done by Butler and Weston), the movie is, at times, slow.


Jay knew as a young boy that he was made to surf. Frosty Hesson, a big wave surfer Jay looked up to, needed some convincing when the teen asked to be taught how to surf Mavericks, gigantic waves off the coast of California. Persuaded by Jay's determination to take on the massive waves, the surfing veteran decides to mentor the newbie through a series of mental and physical exercises. What the two learn along the way goes beyond mastering the big surf.


Chasing Mavericks tells Jay Moriarity's story, but it's not just a movie about surfing. At its heart, the movie touches on themes of mentoring, the importance of fathers, the pain of loss and comfort of friends, and how perseverance and hard work can pay off. Getting all of that into one movie is not an easy task. And in some respects, this film tries to do too much.

The on-screen surfing action and heartfelt moments between Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston's characters make it worth seeing. Weston embodies Jay, fully committing to being the surfer the wave-riding community honors and respects to this day. Butler, as Jay's mentor, adds depth, pulling you in to experience the rise and fall of their story. The big wave action is impressive, especially considering the wipeout Butler had during filming that sent the actor to the hospital.

Rated PG for thematic elements and some perilous action, Chasing Mavericks doesn't contain overly offensive content. Safe for kids, this new movie from Walden Media (who brought us The Chronicles of Narnia and Amazing Grace) offers families good content at the theater.


With the tagline of “Legends start somewhere”, Chasing Mavericks sets out to tell the tale about one of surfing's greats. Is it a life-changing movie? Maybe not. Is it worth a watch? For sure.

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About The Author


Hannah Goodwyn served as a Senior Producer for, managing and writing for the award-winning website. After her undergraduate studies at Christopher Newport University, Hannah went on to study Journalism at the graduate level. In 2005, she graduated summa cum laude with her Master's from Regent University and was honored with an Outstanding Student Award. From there, Hannah began work as a content producer for For ten years, she acted as the managing producer for the website's Family and Entertainment sections. A movie buff, Hannah felt right at home working as's