There’s something about Australian films; they almost always champion the human spirit — at least the ones that make their way to American audiences. “True Spirit” is no different, documenting the true story of 16-year-old Jessica Watson, who set out to become the youngest person to sail around the world.

Director Sarah Spillane navigates the film between sappy family drama and something inspiring for parents to show their children. There are certain suspenseful moments where the film dips toward something you might see on the Disney Channel, where Watson encounters a scary moment but she quickly recovers. For those who didn’t follow the headlines worldwide in 2009 or know the outcome, it also proves riveting in certain moments.

Dustin Chase is a film critic and associate editor with Texas Art & Film, which is based in Galveston. Visit


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