Family Movie Review: Dolphin Tale

Stories of inspiration, hope, and perseverance when combined with the words family + movie do, generally, turn me off more than a reality TV show featuring b-list celebs from other reality TV shows.  And heaven knows there are a lot of those going around.

Dolphin Tale staring Harry Connick Jr, Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, and Kris Kristofferson bucks the trend of such banal entertainment concepts.  And it’s impact on me could’ve been measured in buckets.  Of tears.  What the film does, and does so very well, is present a true life story of overcoming impossible odds with a steadfast, even crazy at times, belief in yourself and your children in such a way that never once feels like a sappy, overwrought turd of a script.  What the cast does with that is deliver honest and level-headed performances even when their characters are dealt frustrating body blows.  “Crying? Crying?  There’s no crying in marine biology!”

Adults are famous for saying no, bailing when things get difficult (how many of us are living our dreams, exactly?), and thinking our parental shit don’t stink; we like to pretend we’ve got the answers and know what is best.  But sometimes what we think we know as right is wrong and sometimes it’s those idealistic young whippersnappers and their silly dreams that make the most sense.  All of this and more is on display in the just under 2-hour movie.  Yeah, there’s a cute dolphin too.

I applaud Dolphin Tale for being a true family movie – no forced romantic story arc! (and one could’ve easily been added) – with messages both subtle and obvious but never, ever spoon fed to the audience.  That’s respect.  For the story of Winter and her pals, and for the viewer.

Families with young people in them, every individual with a disability, and anyone who has a crutch real or imagined, should see this delightful, heartwarming, and truly inspiring film.

*The Bear, Mouse and I paid our own way to see Dolphin Tale and we’d do it again.

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