Inspirational films are often difficult to review. The movie is inspirational for a reason; therefore, it's usually telling a story of someone making the best out of a bad situation. The problem is that no one wants to be the person to say the movie isn't worth watching. Thankfully, Dolphin Tale isn't one of those movies. Dolphin Tale tells the true story of Winter, a dolphin who due to a very unfortunate accident loses her tail and the group of people who help her to survive despite her handicap.
Director Charles Martin Smith, best known for his roles in The Untouchables and Never Cry Wolf, takes a heartfelt story and presents it just as is. The movie's lead is a young actor named Nathan Gamble, who plays Sawyer Nelson. . Gamble is surrounded by high level talent, which you usually don't find in movies of this type; Ashley Judd, plays Lorraine Nelson, Sawyer's mom; Morgan Freeman, working alongside of Judd for the third time, plays Dr. McCarthy, a VA doctor tasked with trying to create a working prosthetic to replace Winter's tail; and Harry Connick Jr. is doctor Clay Haskett, who runs the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and along with his team is mostly responsible for saving Winter's life. Judd provides an endearing charm as Lorraine, and her enthusiasm shines through. There couldn't have been anyone better to play Dr. McCarthy than the great Morgan Freeman. Freeman gives credence to Dr. McCarthy and, thanks to him not being in the right frame of mind, his dedication to creating a new tail for Winter. The charismatic Harry Connick Jr. gives a stellar performance, providing Sawyer with a role model. Cozi Zuehlsdorf makes her acting debut as Hazel Haskett, Sawyer's best friend. Along with Sawyer, the two of them work together to make some magical happen. Zuehlsdorf's shining personality and adorable smile, along with her chattiness, reminded me of what makes my own daughter so special. Not to be overlooked or forgotten, Winter the Dolphin plays herself and is a wonder to watch.
Dolphin Tale teaches and inspires in so many ways. It teaches us to not judge anyone that may be different; it teaches us that family is forever; it inspires us to be role models; it inspires single parents to keep up the great work; and most importantly it inspires those that have set back to never give up. Winter's story is an incredible miracle. As I sat between my son, who's almost 8, and my daughter who is 5, I couldn't help but well up with tears at the determination of these extraordinary people as they all went above and beyond in the hopes of saving a fish; yes, I know that dolphins are mammals and are not really fish. At the end of the movie, I asked my kids how they liked it and they both said that they loved it. They then asked me how I liked it, and my response to them was "I think that may have been my favorite movie so far this summer." I no longer have to think about it, it IS my favorite movie so far this year.
Be sure to check out Winter at www.seewinter.com; and then check out our website at www.twodudereview.com