|Sanford, a troubled boy, becomes best friends with Winter, a tailless dolphin, in the movie a Dolphin Tale.|
Monday, September 26, 2011
DOLPHIN TALE: A STORY ABOUT RESILIENCE, CAMARADERIE AND WHAT A COMMUNITY CAN DO WHEN IT PULLS TOGETHER
A flick for both the parents and the kids
Diana’a rating: *****
By Diana L. Chapman
The minute the previews hit—weeks before it opened—I was ready to see it.
Let’s see, what are the ingredients? A lost, depressed boy, a dying bottled-nosed dolphin without a tail, and a waterfront community doing everything in its power, and then some, to save this highly lovable aquatic creature.
The beauty of this movie is that it tells a true tale of resilience: how one soul—whom actor Morgan Freeman’s character repeatedly calls a “fish”—can make it despite markedly small odds, then change the life of others.
The true story of Winter—a three-month-old dolphin found ensnared in the ropes of a crab trap on a Florida beach—is one we should honor and respect. Because in real life this dolphin rallied human souls who share excruciating disabilities and visit her for a lift.
The magical beauty of the film abounds right from the start when we watch the beginnings of Winter, who playfully roams the turquoise seas with her pod but winds up in her near fatal predicament because of her curiosity.
The movie revolves around the character of Sawyer (Nathan Gamble), a depressed 11-year-old whose father dumped his mother (Ashley Judd) and him five years earlier, but its enchantment begins when Sawyer kneels in the sand to cut away Winter’s ropes, softly chirping to soothe the terrified young dolphin.
From that time on, the two are hooked into a relationship that eases their mutual pain and comes dressed in a beautiful series of moments they share swimming together—so stunning you wish you were in the pool with them.
It’s one of those flicks where all the made-up parts seem almost real and reveals what a sense of determination can do. Add to that recipe a spray and a splatter of what the community of the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, where Winter lives to this day, can do together.
When I saw the film, the theater audience sensed the lesson and applauded as the closing credits began to roll. I suspect it was because they didn’t feel hit over the head with another posturing dupe of a story.
“Wasn’t it beautiful?” said one mother as she left the theater, steering her little girl at her side.
Yes, especially when you can barely find any worthwhile family films these days.
Cherish this one and take the kids. It’s a big leap and a splash you are unlikely to forget.
Dolphin’s Tale is rated PG.
Highly recommended to visit sites about Winter and learn how she helps disabled veterans.