It is not often that a family film has each and every one of us completely enthralled, but Dolphin Tale most definitely did. We all sat down together snuggled under blankets and watched the amazing, inspirational story of Winter, a young dolphin who overcame the odds and triumphed over adversity after losing her tail.
The film is a touching story based on the classic premise of 'lonely young boy meets injured animal and forms a life changing friendship'. But what makes Dolphin Tale so special is that it is based on a true story and the real Winter plays herself in the film. It makes it so emotional and draws you in from the onset.
The cast includes Ashley Judd, Harry Connick Jr, Kris Kristofferson and the wonderful Morgan Freeman. Youngster Nathan Gamble plays Sawyer, the young boy who finds the dolphin tangled in the ropes on a metal crab trap. He cuts the dolphin free whilst waiting for the rescuers from the Clearwater Marine Hospital to arrive. From that point, Sawyer becomes involved in saving the life of the dolphin they name Winter. They cannot save her terribly damaged tail, but Winter does not give up hope. It is Sawyer's idea that they make a prosthetic tail for Winter and with lots of dedication, perseverance and determination, they eventually come up with a fully functional prosthesis. As well as battling to save Winter, they also have to battle to save the Marine Hospital which is broke and under threat of being sold off to hotel developers.
The film touches on the plight of servicemen who have had limbs amputated or have sustained injuries and have to adjust to the change in their lives. Winter's story has parallels with those who are striving to overcome adversity. Her bravery and tenacity has seen Winter become a symbol of inspiration for children and adults with disabilities across the world. In fact, the research done in constructing a new tail for Winter has gone on to improve the lives of amputees as the doctors had to invent a special gel that is super soft and non-irritating for Winter's tail stump. This is now used to make wearing prosthetic limbs much more comfortable for people.
The film ends with real life footage of Winter's rescue and rehabilitation. It also includes scenes of Winter interacting with her visitors who obviously get such joy from meeting such an amazing animal. Her story has touched the souls of millions of people. Winter should have died from her injuries, but she never stopped fighting and never lost her spirit.
I admit that I cried like a baby while watching this film, especially knowing that the real Winter was the star of the show. It was so emotional, beautiful and heart warming. The special features on the Blu Ray were excellent and we watched them all, finding out more about Winter's story, behind the scenes information and more real life footage of this wonderful tale. We even went onto the website at seewinter.com to find out more about this incredible creature and catch a glimpse of her on webcam.
If you want a feel good movie that oozes with hope, inspiration and triumph over adversity, then this is the film for you. Knowing that the animal stars are real rescue animals and that the film was made at the actual hospital where the budget went to improve the facilities, makes you feel even better about the whole project.
We received the Triple Play Blu-Ray, DVD and digital copy of Dolphin Tale for this review from Warner Bros. It is released on Monday and available to pre-order now.