24/7 MOMS

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Movie Review - Dolphin Tale

Dolphin Tale
By: Karen Pecota
24/7 MOMS Movie Reviewer

The world of Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble) takes a downward spiral with the news that his beloved cousin, Kyle Connellan (Austin Stowell) will enter military service, in place of pursuing his long-time dream to train for the U.S. Olympic swim team. Kyle has been a strong mentor to Sawyer since his dad walked out on him and his mother, Lorraine Nelson (Ashley Judd) leaving them to struggle both on an emotional level and financially. The questions left unanswered for the two is the most damaging. Sawyer is angry. His emotional state is fragile and is worried for the life of his cousin. He would be devastated if his cousin never came back from the war zone he is assigned. Kyle is Sawyer’s hero and wants to see him excel as an Olympian but the optimistic Kyle says there will be time to pursue his dreams after the military.  Kyle presents Sawyer with a heavy-duty Swiss Army knife as a going away gift to be something tangible to be remembered, as well as, a helpful tool in Sawyer’s workshop. Sawyer is creative and builds amazing gadgets.
Sawyer needs time to ponder his feelings of sadness and takes the long way to school which trails the Clearwater, Florida coast line just off the Atlantic Ocean.  Sawyer is on his bike and hears someone calling for help. Sawyer heads down to the beach in the direction of the male voice. Sawyer sees that a Dolphin has washed up on shore and awfully tangled in crab-pot wire. It’s alive! Sawyer grabbed his Swiss Army knife and began franticly cutting wires to release the pressure that was strangling the dolphin to its death. The dolphin is at the mercy of Sawyer’s hand and sees the work that Sawyer is doing to save its life making a connection to him. Sawyer is able to free the dolphin but the tail is badly damaged from the injury. Sawyer’s sadness is compounded with the fact that he could not do more to ease the dolphins’ agony. The authorities from Clearwater Marine Hospital arrive on the scene to transport the dolphin to a safe haven.
The evening news makes the accident newsworthy. The Marine Hospital’s Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick, Jr.), states that the dolphin, they have named Winter, will lose its tail. Sawyer yearns to help Winter one more time. After supper he heads to his workshop to do some research and wonders if a dolphin would take to a prosthetic tale. Sawyer connects to Dr. McCarthy (Morgan Freeman), a famous prosthetic limb designer for military veterans to ask help to save Winter. Though apprehensive the two embark on an inspirational journey of true valor; between a dolphin in need, a young boy’s desire to have purpose and a group of friends willing to be on the cutting edge of mammal life survival using technology to save the life of a dolphin.
P.S. Dolphin Tale is based on a true story, written and directed by filmmaker Charles Martin Smith with Alcon Entertainment. Smith notes, “The real Winter, who plays herself in Dolphin Tale, today serves as a symbol of courage, perseverance and hope to millions of people—both able and disabled—who have been touched by her remarkable story of recovery and rehabilitation.
Rated: PG
Karen Pecota
24/7 MOMS film journalist
Released in local theaters: September 23, 2011

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