You know the drill: sappy movie about lonely boy meets wounded animal and boy nurses it back to health and the two develop a strong emotional bond. Break out the tissues. That’s the story to a number of Disney films from back in the late ’70 and early ‘80s. “Dolphin Tale” could easily have fit right in among them. Be that as it may, it is still a very good movie, and I for one, really enjoyed it.
It’s a family film. No swearing, good messages, solid values being shown, and a true story to boot. That’s right, just when the skeptics and cynics want to condemn this movie, up rises the unbelievable fact that this story is based in truth! Me? I’m a sucker for these kinds of films. They make me smile – or shudder, depending upon what kind of film it is. “Dolphin Tale” is indeed true, based on the real life situation involving a dolphin named Winter that has to have its tale amputated after it gets caught up in a trap or net or something. Without its tale, the dolphin will die. However, a young boy named Sawyer comes to Winter’s rescue and somehow inspires this dolphin to fight to live.
Okay, so in real life, there was no Sawyer. That doesn’t detract from the uplifting nature to this film. I believed that Harry Connick Jr. did some of the best acting he has ever done – mainly by just being himself. I also thought Ashley Judd did a great job as Sawyer’s mom, and she no longer looked like yet another plastic surgery victim. The kids that played Sawyer and his new friend Hazel did a great job too. But the real winner here is the story itself. Regardless of its authenticity, “Dolphin Tale” is NOT the movie I described above!
The truth is, “Dolphin Tale” is about Winter. This amazing dolphin would have died if not for someone fitting a prosthetic tale to the dolphin. The dolphin takes to it and thrives. This recovery inspires others with disabilities to come see the dolphin and be inspired by Winter. This includes combat-wounded veterans and children with physical disabilities. Winter has become a real-life hero to these folk. Watch past the credits for the real scenes of folks coming to visit this incredible animal. THAT is what will make you cry.
Also, I just love any film that is about the connection between humans and animals. It is one of the most honest and pure connections you can have in life, and I believe that owning a pet is a complete asset to anyone of any age. Winter inspired others with disabilities to see how they can be overcome, and she’s still doing it today. You can actually go to the Clearwater Marine Center’s website to watch her!
I highly recommend “Dolphin Tale” as an uplifting, family-friendly film that I enjoyed a great deal!
…and that’s it for this edition of THE REEL VOICE.