A lonely and friendless boy finds and untangles a hurt dolphin that is caught in a crab trap. He becomes very attached to the dolphin when the tail must be taken off to save the dolphin's life. The boy believes the dolphin would be able to swim normally if it was given a prosthetic tail. Written by
Douglas Young (the-movie-guy)
Hilary Duff was rumored to be part of the movie. A member of the cast denied that Hilary had a role. See more »
Sawyer is wearing a short sleeve blue t-shirt when he jumps into the water after the relay race at the end of the movie. Once underwater, the shirt has long black sleeves. This indicates a passage of time. See more »
Although Dolphin Tale is by far not my favorite film of the year, like Midnight in Paris, it is a solid kids' film, an adventure that treats animals and 11 year olds with respect and doesn't demonize adults.
A dolphin, Winter, needs a new tail to survive a crab-trap entanglement, and 11 year old Sawyer Nelson is the new friend to help her through the adjustment. His job: show us that being excited about something worthwhile is the answer to school blues and mother loss. The film is aces at showing that being engaged in helping a living being leads to success and happiness.
A slew of other good-willed people help Winter, from like-minded friends to doctors to grandpas. And that's the sweet point of the film, emblazoned on an all-purpose Swiss Army knife: "Family is Forever." With two crucial families needing a mother in one and a father in the other, "family" extends to the community that nurtures children, adults, and animals. Not only does a Clearwater, Florida, marine rescue hospital need financial support to continue, so also does a crippled soldier and Winter. The figurative connections are obvious but still carefully entered into the drama so as not to heighten the sugar content.
Besides, any movie that includes Kris Kristofferson as a benevolent grandpa and Morgan Freeman as a caring prosthetics doctor can't be all bad. For a supposedly sophisticated film critic, I'm veritably childlike in the presence of these accomplished actors. BTW, Ashley Judd as single mom gets my attention, as she always does.
Yet that Winter, she's all any man could want: smart and silky with mysterious eyes that seem to say, "With our help, you men will make it just fine." No man bashing in this film, just recognition that communal charity and mutual respect will win the day.
Something about this Disneyesque, retro children's adventure makes me happy.
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