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Daisy Ridley Dives Deep in "Young Woman and the Sea": A Heartfelt Tribute to Feminine Grit

By Rebeca Riofrio

Daisy Ridley Dives Deep in "Young Woman and the Sea": A Heartfelt Tribute to Feminine Grit

In 2024, amidst the ongoing battle for gender equality, a film like "Young Woman and the Sea" finds an unexpectedly powerful resonance. Directed by Joachim Rønning and starring Daisy Ridley, this biographical drama chronicles the life of Gertrude "Trudy" Ederle, a trailblazing swimmer who defied the odds in 1926 to become the first woman to conquer the English Channel.


Trudy's story is one of relentless determination and unyielding spirit. Born to German immigrants in New York, she faced significant hurdles, from a childhood illness that left her partially deaf to societal norms that relegated women to the sidelines. Yet, her unwavering resolve propelled her to swim across 21 miles of treacherous waters, challenging not just the waves but the deeply ingrained sexism of her era.

I had the incredible opportunity to attend a special screening of this film, invited by Denise Parkinson, VP of Business Development at Allied Global Marketing. It was an emotional experience that left me in tears, deeply moved by Trudy’s story of perseverance and triumph.

The film, delayed and reshuffled through various production phases, finally emerges as a testament to female perseverance. Shot in Bulgaria's Coney Island, with Daisy Ridley portraying the indomitable Trudy, it captures the essence of a woman who broke barriers and made history. The narrative, though centered on a historical figure, feels eerily contemporary, mirroring today's struggles for gender parity in various fields, from sports to corporate boardrooms.

Daisy Ridley Dives Deep in "Young Woman and the Sea": A Heartfelt Tribute to Feminine Grit

Daisy Ridley delivers one of her most compelling performances, bringing both the physical and emotional dimensions of Trudy to life. Her portrayal is a blend of resilience and vulnerability, embodying a heroine who not only fought the physical challenges of her sport but also the societal constraints of her time. Ridley's commitment to the role is evident, having trained under Olympic silver medalist Siobhan-Marie O’Connor, mastering the rigors of competitive swimming to do justice to Trudy’s legacy.

The film doesn't shy away from the darker aspects of Trudy's journey. She is belittled by the head of professional swimming, distanced from her supportive trainer, and undermined by a jealous coach. Yet, it is these adversities that make her triumph all the more poignant. The script smartly balances these challenges with moments of lightness, such as Trudy's adorably defiant protests through song, which add a charmingly human touch to her character.

Daisy Ridley Dives Deep in "Young Woman and the Sea": A Heartfelt Tribute to Feminine Grit

One of the most striking elements of "Young Woman and the Sea" is its cinematography. The open-water sequences are breathtaking, capturing the vastness and peril of the English Channel, while the intimate moments between Trudy and her family ground the story in heartfelt realism. The film’s visual storytelling enhances the emotional impact, making it impossible not to root for Trudy, even if the outcome is preordained.

Interestingly, the film also shines a light on the often-overlooked aspect of Trudy's personal life. Unlike many Hollywood biopics that gloss over the protagonist’s inner world, "Young Woman and the Sea" explores Trudy’s deep connection to the sea and her decision to remain unmarried, devoted to her passion for swimming. This portrayal adds depth to her character, presenting her not just as a historical figure but as a complex, real woman with her own dreams and choices.

Ridley’s interactions with her on-screen sister and mother, played by Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Jeanette Hain respectively, are particularly noteworthy. These relationships add layers to the narrative, highlighting the familial support and the societal expectations placed upon women at the time. Ridley's performance in these scenes is both heartfelt and authentic, resonating with anyone who understands the intricate dynamics of family bonds.

Denise Parkinson, VP of Business Development at Allied Global Marketing & Rebeca Riofrio Director for the Parliamentary Society of Arts UK

"Young Woman and the Sea" stands out not just for its inspirational story but also for its relevance. At a time when the fight for women’s rights continues globally, Trudy Ederle’s story is a powerful reminder of how far we have come and how much further we still have to go. The film is a celebration of feminine strength, a tribute to those who have paved the way, and an encouragement for future generations to keep pushing boundaries.

Daisy Ridley Dives Deep in "Young Woman and the Sea": A Heartfelt Tribute to Feminine Grit

In conclusion, "Young Woman and the Sea" is more than just a biopic; it is a stirring anthem of perseverance and empowerment. Daisy Ridley’s portrayal of Trudy Ederle is nothing short of extraordinary, capturing the essence of a woman who dared to dream big and swim even bigger. I give this film a glowing five stars, declaring it a must-watch, especially for young girls seeking inspiration. As the film hits theaters, it invites audiences to dive into a story of courage and to emerge inspired, much like Trudy herself did, from the choppy waters of life.

Young Woman and the Sea opens in select theaters on May 31


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