The Source for Parents

Movie Reviews
by Todd Pearage

Dolphin Tale (12/20/2011)

Rated PG for some mild thematic elements.

Starring Morgan Freeman, Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Kris Kristofferson

Directed by Charles Martin Smith (Air Bud)

Todd's Rating: Theatre Worthy

Dolphin Tale is inspired by the amazing true story of a brave dolphin and the compassionate strangers who banded together to save her life. 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. Without a tail, Winter's prognosis is dire. 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 scores of people around the world. 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.

Here at The Source for Youth Ministry you know we often complain about movies that promote negative messages and imitatable behavior. Well Dolphin Tale not only has a very positive message…it also has plenty of behavior I would want my kids to imitate.

I generally don’t like movies where the main character is an animal. Hollywood loves to give the animals human qualities, personalities and even intelligence - which is just annoying. That combined with the sappy trailer had me really dreading this one. I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was more the story of young Sawyer than it was the story of Winter the dolphin. And while, yeah it is sappy, it's really sappy in a pretty good way. And the dolphin, actually acts like a dolphin. Sawyer befriends the dolphin, but Winter never behaves in any way other than that of an animal. And as I said, it's really the story of Sawyer and the effect Winter has on his life, rather than vice-versa.

Nathan Gamble is great in the lead role. His transformation from the shy young boy afraid to say hi to anyone, to someone who is making phone calls and approaching strangers in his quest to save Winter, is believable and emotional. He's the anchor to the story. Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd and Morgan Freeman all do a good job as the grown-ups in the story, mostly playing it straight. And Kris Kristofferson is great as the wise old grandpa.

The biggest thing I loved about the movie was how family friendly it was. And we all know how that is in Hollywood these days. This one is a movie that adults and kids can enjoy together. It’s Theater Worthy.


Conversation Starter
Three Simple Questions (with Answers You May Be Looking for):

Q: What’s the message/theme of this movie?

A: Sawyer has a special relationship with his older cousin Kyle. When he leaves to join the armed service, he gives Sawyer a Swiss Army Knife, with "Family Is Forever" etched on the side. And when Kyle he returns from overseas, injured and depressed. It’s Sawyer and his family who rally around him in love.

Q: How do you suppose we—as serious Christ-followers—should react to this movie?
A: We should be encouraged to rally around those around us.

Does it scare you or excite you to help someone in need? Explain.

Let’s start small what are some small things we can do to help people around us? (Think about family, friends and classmates)

Read Matthew 25:31-40
    31 “But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit upon his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered in his presence, and he will separate the people as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep at his right hand and the goats at his left.

    34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’

    37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

    40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
According to this passage, what should be our motivation for helping others in need?

Q: How can we move from healthy, Bible-based opinions about this movie to actually living out those opinions?
A: Has anyone ever rallied around you to help with a need you had?

Have you ever rallied around someone?

Share your story and allow your child/student to share his/hers.

What is one thing you can do this week to help meet someone’s need?

Todd Pearage Todd Pearage is a movie buff at heart, but he's not your traditional film critic. Todd is a blue collar film geek, from his job years ago at Blockbuster to his heartfelt online movie reviews. But Todd isn't just a film geek. He has worked with middle and high school students since 1991 as a youth pastor and is currently on staff at Calvary Church in Souderton, PA. Todd and his wife Lynda have three children, Brianna, Caleb and Addyson.

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