What kind of parent lets a 14-year-old sail solo around the world? What kind of 14-year-old wants to undertake that journey? Remember Laura Dekker, the Dutch kid who set out in 2010 to becomes the youngest person ever to do just that? By the end of Maidentrip, it becomes clear. In fact, halfway through it becomes clear: This is one teenager with more smarts, determination and ability than most adults.

Dekker's journey doesn't get off to an auspicious start. She's mired in a court case for a year in the Netherlands that prevents her from leaving. When the court decides there's no reason to stop her, she wastes little time and hits the seas.

She has a camera and is constantly shooting. Her videos and some archival footage make up the bulk of Maidentrip, and the movie is a fascinating capsule view of a true independent and adventurous spirit.

There are moments when Dekker’s age shows—the way she rebuffs a reporter she doesn’t like seems particularly teenagery—but for the most part she’s absolutely suited to the tasks at hand. She even relishes her alone time after at first being concerned she may dislike it. And given the beauty of the journey, it’s easy to see what she loves about the open water.

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Directed by Jillian Schlesinger
With Laura Dekker
The Screen
82 min.