“In the Heart of the Sea” is not a fish story. Although the fish, a great white whale, (okay, it’s not really a fish, it’s a mammal) will set every fisherman’s heart palpitating. This is not a story about Captain Ahab or the whale Moby Dick. In “In the Heart of the Sea” we learn how Herman Melville found his inspiration for his book, Moby Dick.

Academy Award winning director Ron Howard delivers an epic adventure about the survival of the human spirit against seemingly impossible odds.  “In the Heart of the Sea” brings to life the extraordinary true events of 1820 that inspired the book Moby Dick in a gripping film about the crew of the whale ship Essex on its last voyage from Nantucket. It is a story of man versus nature where the hunter becomes the hunted and the interactions of men in the face of overwhelming odds.

Howard brings out the best in his actors. Chris Hemsworth stars as Owen Chase. Besides being a good solid actor, Hemsworth is gorgeous. He didn’t have to say a word; the heart of every woman in the audience was beating a little harder and faster! Benjamin Walker plays Captain George Pollard who is at odds with the Chase character from their first meeting. Walker is no slouch in looks either. Brendan Gleeson is Tom Nickerson who relates the tale of his days on the ship Essex to writer Herman Melville played by Ben Whishaw.

The special effects “In the Heart of the Sea” are amazing. When you see the whale menacing the ship and the boats, you feel the danger and when the whale attacks, the effects are extraordinary. The cinematography is outstanding. It is presented in 3D which makes the film even more exciting.

I enjoyed this film. It wasn’t what I expected from the trailers. It was even better. In talking with audience members at the Des Peres Cine 14 in St. Louis, most really liked the movie. Several suggested that they were surprised by the film. Most said they expected the movie to be an action film. Although there was action, the film is more about relationships. I thought they could have cut about 15 minutes out of the film which would have strengthen the film but overall it was an enjoyable film that is best seen on the big screen in 3D.

“In the Heart of the Sea” opens Friday at AMC Eastgate Showplace 6 and AMC Showplace Edwardsville 12.

The Telegraph’s contributing movie critic Mary Cox lives in Wood River and is a member of the St. Louis Film Critics Association, who also occasionally writes about film-related topics, studied film at the University of California, Los Angeles, and worked in L.A. with various directors and industry professionals. She can be reached at Visit Mary’s website at