The Finest Hours is the true story of Bernie Webber (Chris Pine), a coast guard in New England in 1952. He's engaged to a lovely young woman named Miriam (Holiday Grainger), and on the day he goes to ask his commander (Eric Bana) for permission, he's sent away on a mission he knows he might not come back from. An oil tanker, just off the coast line, has been struck by intense waves and split in half. 30 survivors remain on the ship, and if they don't get rescued soon, they're all going to die. It's up to Bernie and his three crew members to take a small boat out into the middle of the sea and rescue them, but the odds are most certainly against them.
It's slow moving, but once the film gets going, it's good. A decent amount of time is dedicated to setting up these characters and their relationships with one another, and while it's necessary for the story, it's a bit of a drag and dwells in very familiar territory. But once Pine is sent out to sea, it makes for a damn good movie. It's a repetitive scenario, the characters just floating through wave after wave, but I was far from bored, and as their journey continues, the stakes continue to rise, and I found myself doubting that this film would have a happy ending.
To sum up, The Finest Hours is a familiar and safe true story with off pacing, but nothing about its familiarities are necessarily bad, and therefore, the film actually ends up being pretty good and surprisingly moving.