In the early 19th century, whaling is a major industry. The oil and blubber able to be collected powers everything that burns in a burgeoning America.
Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), an enterprising and experienced whaler, is first mate on the Essex, setting sail from New England.
After being at sea for more than a year without finding much, the crew come across a large pod of whales that will provide more than enough cargo.
Their hunt is interrupted when a whale larger than any ever seen attacks their ship and renders the survivors adrift for almost three months.
Two of the survivors of the Essex recount their harrowing tale of survival to a young writer named Herman Melville, which inspires the classic Moby Dick.
We say, “Chris Hemsworth can’t act.”
TAYLOR: It’s official and unanimous, The Heart of the Sea proves it, Chris Hemsworth is not an actor. He’s a movie star, sure. He’s muscled and handsome. Put him in some tights and give him a hammer to swing, no problem. Perhaps in 20 years, after he’s lived and learned a little, he would be able to play a salty, New England sea dog, but not now. Now his accent wanders from bad to worse, his polished locks and clear blue eyes suit not the seafaring man nearing 40 years of age. The fake scar doesn’t help. It’s like the ship has a quarterback. He is problem one.
HOWE: But he did such a good job in Ron Howard’s last film, Rush. I agree his accent does wander all over the place, but Chase does mention he is of Irish descent. That is why he talks with an Irishalian twang. After the first 10-to-15 minutes I had forgotten all about that tiny flaw and was engrossed in what turned out to be a fine film. There’s lots of action. There are some tender moments and the overall look of the film was very beautiful.
TAYLOR: No, the overall look of the film is a big part of problem two: The story is fine. There’s plenty of beauty and danger to be had whaling, but there are many little things that you notice along the way that distract from your enjoyment. It starts with Hemsworth’s wandering English/Irish/Australian/Boston/I- don’t-know-what accent, proceeds into strange dialogue that seems out of place, and ends with fake looking seas hiding a somewhat boring whale.
HOWE: I don’t know if the whale was that bored. He was seen frolicking with the other whales, even to the extent of doing some Sea World tricks for the camera. I don’t know what you expected the whale to do, maybe turn over, lay on his back and do the back stroke? He’s a whale – he does whaley things.
– Taylor gives In the Heart of the Sea 2.5 scars parking the car at the Harvard yard out of 5.
– Howe gives it 4 rather large waves out of 5.