For the weekend starting September 23rd, the perfect family movie is here. ‘Dolphin Tale‘ is based on the true story of a dolphin named Winter, that was rescued from the coast of Clearwater, FL. After getting her tail caught up in a crab trap, this one has to be amputated, and without a tail her chances to live are small close to none. With the help of the Clearwater Marine Hospital led by Dr Clay Haskett (Harry Connick Jr), Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) a devoted kid who frees Winter from the crab trap, Dr Cameron McCarthy (Morgan Freeman) a doctor that knows no boundaries when it comes to helping someone, Winter finds a way to get a prosthetic tail and be able to swin.
‘Dolphin Tale‘ starts off with a kid named Sawyer (Nathan Gamble), who is very shy and doesn’t care about anything going around him, troubled by his father’s departure a couple of years back, and now his cousin Kyle (Austin Stowell) leaving to the army again, Sawyer finds himself alone and often trying to find meaning why people around him are leaving him. His cousin Kyle was #1 swimmer in the state of Florida and often dreamed about going to the Olympics, but since he was drafted to the Army he got injured and his future as a professional swimmer is now on hold. After Kyle’s going away party, Sawyer’s plans are now summer school. One day on his way to school, an old man calls him from the beach asking him if he has a phone, Sawyer steps down of his bicycle and walks to the shore and sees a dolphin with its tail trapped in a crab trap. Sawyer gives the man his phone and while he’s calling 911, Sawyer takes out a switchblade from his backpack and frees the dolphin. Minutes later, the Clearwater Marine Hospital crew gets there led by Dr Clay Haskett and his team, including his daughter Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff). As they get to the shore and check on the dolphin’s status, Hazel realizes that Sawyer freed her with his switchblade but proceeds with the team to get the dolphin ready to go to the hospital. Needless to say, Sawyer gets to school late, and right after the bell rings the first thing he does is going to the Clearwater Marine Hospital to check up on the dolphin. At the hospital they decide to name the dolphin Winter, and determine that the best thing for her would be to amputate her tail since it was very damaged from the crab trap. The team at the hospital realize that this would mean that Winter’s ability to swim will be limited and that she might be put down eventually since it isnt’ safe for her to swim without a back tail. Sawyer concerned about Winter’s recovery, decides to skip school and would end up at the Hospital during school hours. One day as he is back home, his mother Lorraine (Ashley Judd) tells him that she received a call from the school regarding Sawyer’s absences, and that wherever he’s going instead of school needs to stop. Sawyer devastated by it, tells his mom to please come with him to the CMH to see Winter, Lorraine realizes that this is the first time since Sawyer’s father departure that he actually seems interested in something. After visiting the aquarium, Lorraine notices how much Winter means to Sawyer and goes to school to tell his teacher that he won’t be coming back to class.
The summer goes on, and the team at CMH determine that Winter won’t be able to swim without a prosthetic tail. At the same time, Kyle is back from the war and Sawyer goes to visit him, he is injured in the leg and won’t be able to walk or let alone swim. Embarrased by his injury, Sawyer talks to Dr. Cameron McCarthy (Morgan Freeman), who is the one in charge of developing prosthetic limbs for soldiers, and asks him if he could help Winter. After going to the CMH, Dr McCarthy develops several models of prosthetic tails for Winter, all of which she rejected. Times are hard, and the CMH is about to go out of business if Dr Haskett doesn’t find someone that can donate money to the hospital or for Winter’s special needs, they will be shutting down, and their last resource is to turn CMH into a part of a hotel chain. The kids, Sawyer and Hazel, devastated by the situation find a way to make this better: they put up a website named SeeWinter.com where people can see Winter and in a way feel inspired by her story of never giving up as well as donate money for her cause.
‘Dolphin Tale‘ is a tearjerker, at the end of the movie they show the actual footage of Winter’s rescue and recovery, as well as soldiers with prosthetic limbs and disabled people swimming with Winter, showing them to never give up on their dreams just like Winter did. Winter stars as herself in the movie, and the acting from the rest of the cast was average, with the appearance of Mr Freeman being the best one. ‘Dolphin Tale‘ is the movie you go to see this weekend if you’re down to be inspired (and maybe cry a little) and experience the true story of a dolphin that never gave up. I had the chance to interview the cast of ‘Dolphin Tale’ for my friends over at MTV3, I’ll upload the videos as soon as I have the link! In the meantime, here are some pics of my trip to Clearwater:
Interviewing Abby, real life Winter’s trainer at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium (Winter is inside the pool)
DOLPHIN TALE is in theaters September 23rd.