These days I seem to have trouble finding films that I truly enjoy. So I didn’t get my hopes up when I pressed play The Mercy.
But as it turned out I did like it. Admittedly, I got rather seasick when Donald Crowhurst set off on his rickety journey around the world, and the camera swayed and wriggled just to make sure that the viewers understood exactly how Mr. Crowhurst felt. I didn’t go so far as to throw up, as Mr. Crowhurst did, but I did stop and take a short break in search of my sea legs.
The Mercy is the story of Donald Crowhurst, who in 1968 dreamt of circumnavigating the globe and winning a large sum of money. He was an amateur sailor, an inventor and the father of three children. He left them and his understanding wife behind, sailing off in a trimaran, Teignmouth Electron, which he’d had built on short notice, pawning both his company and his house in the venture.
Crowhurst’s journey was riddled with difficulties from the very start, and things did not end well for him or his family.
If it hadn’t been for Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz playing Donald and Clare Crowhurst with gentle charm and quiet fortitude, I’m not sure I would have felt very sympathetic towards Mr. Crowhurst. After all, he did leave his family high and dry while pursuing his own private dream. But in this film, he is also portrayed as a man genuinely believing that he could pull the whole thing off – at least, he did at first – and improve life for both himself and his family.
The ending is a very sad one, but it’s also sort of beautiful. It’s the story of hopes and dreams that may or may not come true, but nevertheless keep people going.