Dolphin Tale Movie Review

Wall Murals – Shaun Thurston
Doug Eng in studio
Doug Eng – Laura Street

by Rick Grant
This movie oozes gushing sentimentality. And yes, I’m a sucker for these warm and fuzzy family films. I say why not go to the movies to be uplifted by the love of an injured dolphin? Indeed, there are so many films that glorify gratuitous violence. And yes, if the action is part of a well written script, then I like this genre as well.
Producers of “Dolphin Tale” took the true story and hired a gaggle of big names to present the scenario as close to the truth as possible. So, give them a gold star on their report card, and love that tailless dolphin named Winter–a female who plays herself. Winter is he real star of this heartwarming story.
Nathan Gamble plays Sawyer Nelson, a withdrawn, troubled kid whose mother, Lorraine (Ashley Judd) is working hard to support them after her husband was killed. Living with Sawyer is his aunt, her husband, and his cousin, Kyle (Austin Stowell) He is Sawyer’s surrogate big brother.
One day on the beach, Sawyer spots a beached dolphin who was trapped in a fishing trap rope He tries to help the distressed animal and a fisherman calls the dolphin rescue unit. They take the critically ill animal to the local marine hospital in Sarasota, Florida. Of course, Sawyer, who had a special connection with the beached mammal, wants to see the animal as soon as possible.
A pert little girl named Hazel, leaves the locked door open, and Sawyer sneaks into the facility. Hazel immediately meets him and they form a friendship, She surreptitiously takes him to see the newly named Winter. The highly intelligent mammal recognizes Sawyer and makes a special squeaking sound for him, alerting Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick, Jr.) the head of the marine hospital. Dr. Haskett runs the marine hospital and Hazel is his daughter. Her crusty grandpa is Reed Haskett (Kris Kristofferson) who helps out and dotes on his granddaughter. Reed’s wife is not in the picture. So there is an opportunity for Reed to meet Sawyer’s mom, Lorriane and strike up a romance. Thankfully, that subplot is played down in the story. It’s about Winter and the boy!
Sadly, Winter develops a severe infection in her tail from losing the blood supply by being tangled in a rope. So to save her life, they have to amputate her entire tail. This doesn’t stop Winter from adapting by swimming around using her spine and stump to swim. Unfortunately, it could cause her to become paralyzed. Dr. Haskett starts to feel like it might be more humane to euphemize her.
Yes, it’s predictable but Winter and Sawyer are adorable together. It’s a natural for the boy and the dolphin to bond in abiding love for each other. This movie is the perfect family film to escape the recession doldrums.