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Heather's DVD Review: Dolphin Tale

Updated on January 17, 2018
Dolphin Tale Poster
Dolphin Tale Poster
Gamble bonds with Winter in ''Dolphin Tale".
Gamble bonds with Winter in ''Dolphin Tale".
Connick and Freeman reach an agreement in "Dolphin Tale."
Connick and Freeman reach an agreement in "Dolphin Tale."
Freeman showed his latest creation in "Dolphin Tale."
Freeman showed his latest creation in "Dolphin Tale."

Is it possible for a boy to find true friendship from an unlikely source? That's part of the premise behind the movie Dolphin Tale, now on DVD, which had some familiar but profound results.

Dolphin Tale followed Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble) a young boy who loved to tinker with his mechanical creations, but avoided dealing with the outside world. He lost interest in school and ended failing right into summer school. His mother (Ashley Judd) is a frustrated single parent at her wit's end with him. His cousin Kyle (Austin Stowell) is going to be deployed after signing up for the Army and asked Sawyer to live his life to the fullest. Sawyer's life changes for the better when he crossed paths with Winter, a dolphin that was injured in the ocean. Winter washed up to shore and was taken to the Clearwater Marine Hospital to be treated by Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick Jr.) and his associates. Sawyer also met Clay's daughter Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) and his father Reed (Kris Kristofferson). Winter's recovery cost her her tail and a shorter life span, until Dr. Cameron McCarthy (Morgan Freeman) offered to make Winter a prosthetic tail. The project was a serious undertaking that was marred by the fact that the Marine Hospital is going under financially. Can a last minute fundraiser save the Hospital and Winter in the long run?

In terms of plot, this Tale has great source material because it was actually based on a true story about Winter's plight from being injured to a fully adjusted dolphin. Like War Horse, Tale excelled because of the main character's (Winter) presence. The audience couldn't help but want to root for Winter to survive against all the odds. She drew some of the larger laughs as she playfully splashed her human costars and bonded with Gamble. In terms of breakthrough performances, Gamble and Zuehlsdorff bring a touch of youthful levity and innocence to their dolphin loving characters who don't fit in anywhere but at the Marine Hospital. The movie also touched upon a potential relationship that will likely happen between Hazel and Sawyer as they get older. Kristofferson, Connick and Freeman give the movie some acting grit and also deliver some amusing scenes as they figure out how to work together for Winter's sake. The movie's only casualty is Judd who had very little to do, except offer support for Sawyer. It's a shame that she didn't have more to do, but it was Winter's story and not hers in the end. This movie is definitely worth watching with your family.

Verdict: A touching true story that falls victim to some story cliches, but it also embraced them for the better.

DVD Score: 3 out of 5 stars

Movie Rating: PG

Score Chart
1 Star (Mediocre)
2 Stars (Averagely Entertaining)
3 Stars (Decent Enough to Pass Muster)
4 Stars (Near Perfect)
5 Stars (Gold Standard)


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