Movie Review: Dolphin Tale

Movie Review: Dolphin Tale

Dolphin Tale


PG for mild thematic elements.
Genre: Drama, kids, family
Running Time: 1 hour 52 minutes

Swimming free, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, severely damaging her tail. She’s rescued and transported to the Clearwater Marine Hospital where she’s named Winter. But, her fight for survival has just started. Without a tail Winter’s progress is dire. It will take the expertise of a dedicated marine biologist, the ingenuity of a prosthetic s doctor and the unwavering devotion of a young boy to bring about a ground-breaking miracle – a miracle that might not only save Winter, but could also help scores of people around the world.

The real Winter – who plays herself in Dolphin Tale – serves as a symbol of courage, perseverance and hope to millions of people who have been touched by her story of recovery and rehabilitation.

True Life On The Big Screen

This based-on-true story movie not only has a star studded line up, but is a moving and captivating story full of inspiration and hope. You never really know which way a based on true story movie is going to go. But one thing is for sure, many such movies are tear-jerkers. While I wouldn’t call Dolphin Tale a tear-jerker, it certainly is a good idea to have some tissues handy as it is a moving story.

Dolphin Tale is inspired by the true story of Winter, a dolphin who was rescued off the Florida coast after her tail got caught in a crab trap. This uplifting family-oriented adventure tells the story of the bond between the injured dolphin and a young boy. When Winter loses her tail as a result of the accident, her young friend Sawyer, played by Nathan Gamble, convinces a prosthetic expert to make a prosthetic tail for Winter. This in turn inspires hope and courage in handicapped people around the world.

Filmed on location in Clearwater, Florida Dolphin Tale is screening in both 3D and 2D. While the 3D version is very impressive, I’m sure nothing will be lost by seeing the movie in 2D. This is not a movie about special effects. Dolphin Tale is a movie about hope and overcoming amazing obstacles in life. While the 3D effects are cool – and it’s worth noting they’re not overdone either – they’re more of an accent to this movie than anything else. It is cool to see the special effects of dolphins blowing bubble circles underwater and then swimming through them. Some of the underwater scenes in 3D puts you right into the water with the fish. That is fun but not overdone so we give huge kudos to those involved in this movie for not falling into the trap of too much technology.

As already mentioned, the acting talent in Dolphin Tale is stellar.

It’s hard to go wrong with Morgan Freeman who plays Dr. McCarthy who makes the prosthetic replacement tail for Winter. While he does not have a huge part in the movie, like usual, his soft and gentle manner on the big screen is simply wonderful to watch. Personally, Harry Connick Jr. has never seemed like a captivating actor to me. Usually his characters are flat and it seems like he’s struggling most of the time. But in this movie as he finds himself surrounded with great performers, he rises to the challenge and I was very impressed with his performance as Dr. Clay Haskett. It’s also nice to see Ashley Judd on the big screen again. Kris Kristofferson’s portrayal of Grandpa Reed Haskett is also outstanding. Kristofferson was the perfect pick to play the weather-worn grandfather who’s spent his life on the water.

When it comes to the young stars in Dolphin Tale we have to give a huge round of applause to both Nathan Gamble who plays Sawyer Nelson and Cozi Zuehlsdorff who stars as Hazel Haskett. While the young stars got off to a somewhat shaky start, as the movie progressed they really started to shine. By the end of the movie they really do steal the show.

When it comes to rating we are saying Dolphin Tale is family-friendly. However, it is worth noting that this is a PG movie, NOT a G rated movie.

Parents, that means this movie is not for the really young crowd. As a matter of fact, it’s probably best for the 10 and up crowd. I know there’s a temptation to take the much younger crowd because it’s a movie about a dolphin. But, Dolphin Tale clocks in at close to 2 hours and while it is a good movie, the under 10 crowd will have a problem sitting still. This is not a movie with lots of action and special effects. Yes, this is a wonderful family-friendly movie, but it’s not for the really crowd.

Overall we really enjoyed Dolphin Tale and while I just said this is not for the real young crowd, we do highly recommend it as a family-friendly movie. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a based on true story movie with such a great story line and wonderful messages throughout. If you’re looking for a movie to enjoy where you don’t have to worry about bombs, explosives, chase scenes and unwanted sexual innuendo messages, Dolphin Tale will not disappoint.

Enjoy the show!

Dr. Rus

About the Author

Dr. Rus has 30+ years experience in the field of communication. He takes this experience, and his passion to encourage others to positively effect their environment, when providing insight and movie reviews.