If you think Alcon Entertainment’s “Dolphin Tale” is going to be another sugary-sweet – yet totally unbelievable – animal movie, you need to think again. Directed by Charles Martin Smith and starring Harry Connick, Jr. Ashley Judd as Lorraine Nelson, Nathan Gamble, Cozi Zuehlsdorff, Kris Kristofferson, Oscar® winner Morgan Freeman, and the real Winter playing herself, “Dolphin Tale” is a realistic heartwarming story of hope.
Swimming free, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, severely damaging her tail. She is rescued and transported to the Clearwater Marine Hospital, where she is named Winter. But her fight for survival has just begun. Losing her tail may cost Winter her life. It will take the expertise of a dedicated marine biologist, the ingenuity of a brilliant prosthetics doctor, and the unwavering devotion of a young boy to bring about a groundbreaking miracle—a miracle that might not only save Winter but could also help thousands of people around the world.
“Dolphin Tale” is loaded with talented actors. Harry Connick, Jr. portrays Dr. Clay Haskett – who runs the Clearwater Marine Hospital – as a caring father and dedicated marine biologist. Ashley Judd as Lorraine Nelson delivers a realistic portrayal of the challenges many single mothers face. Kris Kristofferson is the epitome of a crusty, yet loveable, old sailor. Morgan Freeman appears to be quite at home in the role of Dr. Cameron McCarthy, the medical doctor who takes on the seemingly impossible task of crafting a prosthetic tail for Winter.
The young actors hold their own in this ensemble cast. Nathan Graham is amazing as Sawyer Nelson, a shy introverted young boy whose life is turned around after he finds Winter stranded on the beach. Cozi Zuehlsdorff portrays Hazel Haskett as a charming and delightful young girl.
The script is refreshingly honest and true-to-life and free of strong language, violence and adult themes. There isn’t even an on-screen romance between Clay and Lorraine; the screenwriters Karen Janszen and Noam Dromi, explained they didn’t want to detract from the main story line of Winter’s survival. The thematic elements that earned the film its PG rating include scenes of real amputees and the story of how the real Winter lost her tail.
“Dolphin Tale” was filmed on location in Florida, including Winter’s home at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium, whose motto is “Rescue, Rehabilitate and Return.” The film will be distributed in 3D and 2D in select theatres by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.
Reminiscent of classics like “Old Yeller,” “Dolphin Tale” is a must see for those who are weary of films packed with aliens, battling robots, super-human super heroes and drunken pirates.