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For those who love beauty at the soul level -
on 25 September 2011
This is one of the most emotionally powerful movies I have seen in a very long time! 5 stars does not even begin to cover it! Based on a true story, young dolphin "Winter" faces impossible odds to live without a tail. My only hope is that I can provide a review that is worthy of this beautiful story. I saw this in the 2-D version and it was outstanding!
The movie opens with a few minutes of beautiful underwater shots and dolphins swimming in what appears to be their natural habitat. Then we see commercial crabbers dropping their traps and ropes. "Winter" plays herself in this powerful heart-centered movie about love, caring, and perseverance.
We flip over to learn a bit about young Sawyer (Nathan Gamble), a very quiet, keep-to-himself young man about age 12. Champion swimmer cousin Kyle tries to bring young Sawyer out of his self-imposed closet, but it just ain't happening. Then Kyle joins the army because they will pay his way through college and Sawyer is soon to be without his big-brother type cousin. Called to active duty, Kyle is injured and reminds us what some of our men and women in the service go through when they return home and must adjust to changes in their lives.
While riding along South Beach, Sawyer approaches a beached dolphin, tangled in ropes and dragging a metal crab trap. Her tail and mouth are bloody and the ropes are tightened around her tail. Dolphin and boy bond immediately as he begins to cut the ropes that bind her, while making short whistling noises to answer her dolphin sounds. Dr. Clay (Harry Connick Jr) and young daughter Hazel are among the Clearwater Marine Hospital folks who arrive quickly and take the little dolphin in and try to save her tail.
Dolphin rehab begins to take effect when Sawyer sneaks into the Marine Hospital to see how his new friend is doing. We begin to watch lives intertwine and healing begin in many ways as folks are touched by something special and wonderful.
Ashley Judd plays Sawyer's mom (Lorraine) and Morgan Freeman plays Dr Cameron who helps soldiers with prosthetic devices at the Veteran's Hospital. Kris Kristofferson plays Harry Connick's dad. Rufus (named so because he lives on the roof) the pestering pelican provides comic relief throughout the movie.
Through the tears, fears, and worries, I found some laugh-out-loud moments throughout the movie, laughing so loud I thought someone was going to tell me to shut up!. There is also play time between the boy and the dolphin.
Winter lives at the Clearwater Aquarium, in Florida, and she is an amazing lesson to us all about determination, adjusting to life's changes, and perseverance -- about taking the lemons and making lemonade. Her lesson is also about how amputees and disabled children can be encouraged by an itty bitty dolphin who has overcome all the odds. The gel sleeve developed for prosthetics in this story is said to be in use today.
This charming movie touched me at the soul level. I urge you to take your children, and yourself, to see it - then buy the movie to watch over and over again. It has powerful lessons in it! (Keep your tissues close by.)
Oh, and hang out for some extra tape at the end. Looks like it is probably photos of the real rescue and folks in the actual story.