ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

A Dolphin Tale Shows a Human-Animal Miracle

Updated on March 25, 2017
Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Ms. Inglish has been a professional writer and critic of films, books, music and theater for over 20 years.

Winter, grown up and resting her tail without her prosthesis.
Winter, grown up and resting her tail without her prosthesis. | Source

Movies That Are Encouraging

The film Dolphin Tale is based on the true story of Winter the dolphin, is nearly two hours long, and gives viewers plenty to see and consider while waiting for any family related holiday to arrive.

This is a good film, because it is uplifting, contains both drama and humor, is educational, is well acted, and includes two child actors that have future potential.

Clearwater Marine Aquarium:
Clearwater Marine Aquarium Inc, 249 Windward Passage, Clearwater, FL 33767-2244, USA

get directions

Environmental Films With Entertainment Value

Actor Harry Connick, Jr. comes from the world of New Orleans and Music, but his acting talents on television and in films are equally enjoyable. He plays a real-life scientist that harvested an old warehouse to create a sea life and waterfowl hospital, refuge, and research center. Connick is convincing as the scientist determined to help Winter and other wildlife in the process of educating the children of the community.

Veteran actor Morgan Freeman plays a medical scientist that creates prostheses of all kinds for our Wounded Warriors that return in need from armed services missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other locations. Working with Connick's scientist and Winter the dolphin, this character combines animal and human medicine. His prostheses for Winter's tail help him design better equipment for his armed forces servicemen and -women and visa versa .

This is how the world should work in many minds. Freeman can play any part from chauffeur (Driving Miss Daisy ) to prisoner (The Shawshank Redemption ) to Civil War soldier (Glory ) to God (Bruce Almighty ) and all sorts of characters and famous people. His unique banter with Winter and her caretakers is happily uplifting - he calls her "Fish" and she spouts water on him a lot.

Freeman has won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute, a People's Choice Award in 2012 , and the 2012 Cecille B. Demille Award, which he dedicated onstage to one of his presenters, Sydney Poitier.

Morgan Freeman plays Dr. Cameron McCarthy in the film, but the real-life medical scientist is Kevin Carroll, winner of the 2009 Distinguished Service Award of the United States Sports Academy for helping paralympic athletes that includes our Wounded Warriors.

The doctor develops prostheses, research projects, education programs, and publications while he maintains his post as Vice-President of Prosthetics for Hanger Prosthetics & Orthotics, Inc.

It took Carroll at least a year of work to develop a tail for Winter that works, having developed prostheses for four-legged beasts and a duck. Working with the Dolphin, Carroll and his partners developed a pressure easing substance now called WintersGel .

Children did not discover the baby Winter, found hurt on a Florida beach in 2005 one December. However, two young actors particularly contribute positively to this film.

Cozi Zuehlsdorff plays young Hazel Haskett, daughter of scientist Clay Haskett (played by Connick). Quite personable and energetic, Cozi enjoys using her advanced piano skills at age 12 in 2011, filming home-produced films, and attending church. She has been acting since age 8 in the title role of Annie onstage and enjoys filming commercials as well as films.

Kris Kristofferson, former Golden Gloves Boxer and US Army Captain, plays Hazel's grandfather in the film. He has been active in music and film since 1970, when he gave up a teaching position at West Point Military Academy to go to Nashville.

Nathan Gamble, born 01/12/1998, believably plays a young troubled student, Sawyer Nelson, who finds encouragement at the Marine Center in helping Winter. His mom Lorraine is played by Ashley Judd. Nathan has been acting in films and television since 2006, at about age 8. He won the Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a Feature Film by an actor age 10 or younger in 2007 (Babel ) and 2008 (The Mist ).

Ashley Judd is not only an accomplished actor and member of the family of The Judds, she also has an earned Masters Degree in Public Administration from Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government. She has done humanitarian work globally.

Ricky the Pelican: A pelican that lives at the Marine Center is a star in it's own right, chasing misbehaving humans and seemingly cracking its own bird-type jokes. Everyone should have a pelican friend.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ricky the PelicanWinter!Winter resting.Winter laughing.
Ricky the Pelican
Ricky the Pelican | Source
Winter! | Source
Winter resting.
Winter resting. | Source
Winter laughing.
Winter laughing. | Source

Compared to the animated films Happy Feet and Happy Feet 2, Dolphin Tale puts across its environmental message with compassion and somewhat fewer laughs, but is not preachy. Morgan Freeman, who narrated the profound and beautiful March Of the Penguins produces several laughs and charming scenes in Dolphin Tale.

The film is encouraging in nature by showing busy scientists taking time to learn from animals, help them, and transfer new knowledge to human medicine and visa versa. The story points out how working with animals can make a better life for humans, especially our injured armed services people, but also for the medical personnel, related volunteers, and the community at large, including children.

Five-Minute Documentary

Winter plays herself, a dolphin found beached with a fishing net cutting into her bloody tail and body (In real life, the netting and a fishing line cut off her circulation and her tail fell off eventually).

Despite the efforts of a team of wildlife rehabilitators that is led by Harry Connick, Jr., the end of Winter's tail must eventually be amputated in the film. Her survival requires volunteers to carry her through the water 24/7, until she tires of the confinement.

Incredibly, Winter learns to swim by moving her tail in a way for which it is not designed and the repetitive stress injury her swimming causes can lead to her death. The situation is as frustrating for the rehab team as it is to doctors and engineers that are trying to help our Wounded Warriors with lifelike prostheses that work.

Prosthetics trace their initiation back hundreds of years or longer, and American bio-engineers improved the "peg leg" of the pirate and the American Civil War soldier considerably. To the amputee, however, even some of the newest designs in artificial limbs feel like a boat oar or traffic cone stuck willy-nilly on the end of a leg. The teams of scientists and volunteers that help our amputees in the human and animal worlds keep working until they find something good.

© 2012 Patty Inglish MS


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Patty Inglish, Ecological films which highlight the camaraderie which is possible between people and nature's critters foster a sense of the rapport which can make this world a better place for all of its inhabitants, not just those of the human persuasion.

      Even with Hollywood transformations, "Dolphin Tale" conveys a good impression of the message of the real story, which is actually even more inspirational than the film. Nevertheless, a beautiful movie with a wonderful theme.

      Thank you for reviewing "Dolphin Tale" and bringing it to the attention of your readers.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      hArVey??? I have to fix that!

    • GoDoggie profile image


      9 years ago from Melrose, MA

      You mean Harry Connick, Jr., not Harvey, right? Otherwise thanks for the tip for a good film for my kids!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Thank for the kind words. This film really has impact and it certainly impressed me. Winter works with a lot for children and veterans with missing limbs and does so to great advantage. It's a miracle.

    • Astra Nomik profile image

      Cathy Nerujen 

      9 years ago from Edge of Reality and Known Space

      This is a great film. Very heat warming and satisfying. Your hub catches all the best points of the film, and you give this a great review. This is awesome, Thank you Patty. :)

    • JLBender profile image


      9 years ago from Greensburg, PA

      Never would have thought about watching the film until now. Great post.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Always on the lookout for these ongoing sagas of good spirit. Thanks for visiting!

    • Earth Angel profile image

      Earth Angel 

      9 years ago

      Warms the heart dearest Patty! In a world of terrible news every minute it seems, these stories are spirit-lifting and soul-encouraging! Thank you so much for being YOU and bringing us THEM (great Hubs)!! Blessings Always, Earth Angel!

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Inglish MS 

      9 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      The next one coming up is a true story about whales stuck under pack ice in Arctic-area Alaska in 1988 - Big Miracle, starring Drew Barrymore.

      Thanks for visiting and I'll be reporting on the whales and ongoing man-and-environment items in future.

    • Maralexa profile image

      Marilyn Alexander 

      9 years ago from Vancouver, Canada

      Hi Patty. This is a beautiful article! 'Environmental films with entertainment value'. I agree, this is certainly one of (I hope) many more.

      I learn so much from your writing. Thanks so much.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)