I watched 2 hours of magic yesterday. This came in the form of a movie that is simple, eloquent and touched me in a way that few movies do. ‘Dolphin Tale’ was a part of the Mumbai Film Festival and something in the brief description I read in the MAMI catalogue made me want to watch it. However, I could not since the screening was on a weekday. But I watched this film last night and I am glad my hunch about the film was absolutely correct.

Based on a true story, the movie is an inspirational saga about a young dolphin and a boy. Maybe this is what attracted me about the description of the film. Having sailed very early in my childhood, I have seen dolphins up close and delighted in them. I used to be amazed at them swimming next to our ship for miles and enthralled at the show they would put up while swimming 🙂

Caught in a crab trap and severly injured, the dolphin is washed up on a Florida beach and discovered by an old man and a young boy, Sawyer Nelson. Sawyer is a reclusive, reticent child whose only friend is his older cousin Kyle – a swimming champion, soon to be army personnel and a hopeful Olympic swimmer. Sawyer’s grades are very poor and he is sent to summer school that he does not enjoy. The other boys in class bully him and he is not able to form any relationships. His mother and other family members worry about him; his cousin tries to draw him out to no avail.

Cycling by the beach, Sawyer is startled when he is hailed by the old man who spots the dolphin washed up on the shore. You can see the wonder in his face as he comes close to the beautiful creature who is clearly suffering. He cuts her tail free of the crab trap with the Swiss Army knife gifted to him by Kyle and thus starts the story of an iincredible and endearing relationship.

The dolphin is transferred to the Clearwater Marine Hospital and treated under Dr. Clay Haskett. Named ‘Winter’ by his little daughter, the dolphin survives but seems to have no will to live. This changes the day Sawyer sneaks into the hospital to pay a visit. Winter recognizes him, responds to him and slowly Sawyer becomes a part of her recovery process. But the damage from the crab trap is so severe that Winter’s tail has to be cut off. The future looks grim for the young dolphin who needs a tail to swim. The future looks bleak for the hospital too, since it is strapped for funds and the only feasible option is to sell out to a business tycoon who wants to make a hotel on the property.

Watch Dolphin Tale to journey through the most beautiful tale of courage, faith, determination, inspiration and unconditional love. This is a Super Hero movie in my eyes and everyone in this movie is a hero…Nathan Gamble who plays Sawyer Nelson; Ashley Judd who plays his mother in a small but wonderfully poignant role; Harry Connick Jr. as Dr. Clay Haskett, the idealist doctor with a heart of gold; Cozi Zuehlsdorff as Hazel Haskett (Dr. Haskett’s enchanting little daughter who is clearly a star in the making); Austin Stowell as Kyle; Morgan Freeman as Dr. McCarthy and of course Winter who plays WINTER! Yes, the film stars the young dolphin for real.

I recommend this as a MUST WATCH for everyone, specially those with children. No glitzy special effects and no superstars, but a story that will surely touch a chord in every heart. Thank you Warner Brothers for making this wonderful movie. 


Copyright © Tara Verma November 2011

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