Dolphin Tale

Heartwarming animal drama (is there any other kind?) about a young boy, Sawyer Nelson, who befriends an injured bottlenose dolphin. She loses her tail after being caught in a crab trap in the Indian River in Fort Pierce, Florida. Inspired by a true story, this uplifting tale is acceptable family viewing. It’s tough to dislike a film that is so traditional and wholesome. Its heart is in the right place as it advocates a respect for animals that is admirable. You’d have to have a heart of stone to not root for the dolphin’s success.  There’s even a territorial pelican named Rufus that hangs out at the aquarium and provides some comic relief. He’s got even more personality than the title character.

Unfortunately the script has a tendency to overdose on the schmaltz. The tender moments between the juvenile and the dolphin are affecting enough. But why did the filmmakers have to slather on the melodrama? Sawyer is a directionless kid living in Clearwater, Florida with his single mother. His older cousin is a promising athletic swimmer who is leaving to serve oversees in the military. There’s even an impending hurricane on the horizon.  Rough seas ahead. No pun intended. Young children will certainly find much to love here. After all, a passion for sea creatures  is practically instinctive in children. It has some tender swimming scenes where the boy bonds with his aquatic friend. But this wildlife saga is as predictable as they come. The plot isn’t interesting in any meaningful way. No surprises or twists in the entire 112 minutes.  Still give the film credit for being so decent and sweet. Thankfully it lacks hip pop culture references as well. If you’re looking for a pleasant live action film for the whole family, this should fit the bill rather nicely.

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3 Responses to “Dolphin Tale”

  1. Rufusi is a pelican! Not a penguin…

    • Ha ha. You’re right. Darn spell check! I clicked “publish” before I caught the mistake, so e-mails went out with the error, but the review was fixed on the site. Thanks.

  2. Very precious movie. A very “g” rated kids movie. Simple story.

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