Wednesday, March 14, 2012

One Minute Movie Review: A Dolphin Tale

In a society, drenched in cynicism movies like this are often dismissed as corny, simplistic, and juvenile. Unfortunately, we have become a culture that believes that reality T.V. actually depicts reality. So when a story comes along with a portion of real truth it can be easily missed. The actual story of Winter, the 3 month old Dolphin who would eventually lose part of her tail due to an encounter with a crab trap is remarkable and moving alone but Charles Martin Smith envelopes it in a wonderfully inspiring, character driven story in this well crafted film. Nathan Gamble absolutely steals the show, as it should be, as Sawyer a lonely and troubled youth silently looking for hope and purpose. His relationship with Winter is magical and authentic, and the same holds true with his interaction with the entire ensemble. He is supported by a B+ cast including; Kris Kristofferon, Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr., and Morgan Freeman. Of all the adults in the movie, it is Freeman, as usual, who provides the deepest and most profound connection with the audience. There are a few misses; the relationship between Sawyer and Hailey, Connick's on screen daughter, is a little too cutesy, Connick and Judd's potential relationship is left unexplored, and the ending is overtly predictable. With that said, Winter's miraculous rescue and recovery is positively inspiring and overshadows any flaws in an otherwise decent picture. To add to that, the director inserts an uplifting subplot involving Sawyer's cousin, Kyle an Olympic hopeful in swimming, who suffers a severe leg injury in combat.  It reflects an obvious appreciation for our soldiers who have suffered permanent injuries during the course of their selfless sacrifice in protecting our freedom.  Now for the most crucial element, the kid factor, in that area it is an utter win-win. Both my children, three and six, were completely engrossed and loved the film. There is a brief documentary during the credits so do not miss that.  To see Winter on a moment by moment basis check out www.seewinter.com. That site is now a permanent fixture on my desktop. 3 out of 5 Kernels, this is an stirring dip in the cool waters in the pool of imagination that refreshes mind and spirit in a sea of films filled with pessimism and gloom.

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