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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 1 May 2012
My wife and I took our 3 kids to watch this beautiful, uplifting movie this past weekend and had the most wonderful time. When the movie ended, the audience broke out in spontaneous applause, that's how much this movie affected all of us. Dolphin Tale is the story of overcoming the odds, of love between family and love among friends, and of courage and resilience.

Set in Clearwater, Florida and inspired by a true story (yes, there is a real Winter the Dolphin!), the story centers on a young boy Sawyer (Nathan Gamble in a finely nuanced performance) who is portrayed as being despondent at the beginning of the movie - he is sad that his cousin,Kyle (Austin Stowell) a champion swimmer is going away to serve the country as a soldier. Kyle is Sawyer's role model and mentor, and the closest thing he has to a 'dad' figure given his own father left the family when he was very young. Sawyer's mom, Lorraine (Ashely Judd) tries her best to cope and provide for Sawyer, but she can't seem to bring Sawyer out of his doldrums. Sawyer is also very unhappy that he has to attend summer school, but something happens to change the way Sawyer views life.

One day, Sawyer comes across a stranded, injured dolphin and the amazing journey begins...soon enough, Sawyer is volunteering at the Clearwater Marine Rescue facility, headed by Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick, Jr.), and the young boy finally sees a reason to be enthusiastic about life. He befriends Clay's young daughter, Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) and forms a close bond with Winter the dolphin. Unfortunately, the marine facility is in financial trouble and faces the threat of being bought out by a developer. Added to this is the sad fact that Winter, having lost her tail, may eventually face paralysis. Morgan Freeman plays a doctor who designs prosthetics for injured war vets, and whose unwavering perseverance plays a prominent role in the movie.

There's something in this movie that captures the imagination and interest of both children and adults. The antics of the dolphin, and the children's interactions between themselves and the dolphin will keep young children entertained and older children engaged. The riveting storyline, and the tension and drama keep the adults engaged as well. This truly falls into the category of "family entertainment". We did not watch it in 3D, but loved the movie all the same. Another friend who did watch it in 3D enjoyed the extra effects, so we might go back and watch it again. I will certainly be purchasing the DVD when it is released and adding it to our home DVD library.

The messages in this movie are timely and evergreen - of resilience, hope, love, overcoming the odds, and of course, conservation. You can learn more about the real Winter at seewinterdotcom.Enjoy!
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on 27 October 2011
I took my son to see this 3 days ago. It is one of the best films I have ever seen. It was so touching and inspiring and I was in tears quite a lot of the time. It was also funny too so had a good balance. The story was really good and I can't wait to get this on DVD to watch again. When the film ends it then goes on to show you the actual true footage of what happended when Winter was rescued from the beach and her journey and the rescuers journey to create the perfect tale for Winter to swim with. It is a highly emotionally charged film and I was crying buckets at the end and had to compose myself before I could leave the cinema. I am a totally wuss though and stories like this, which is based on the true story of Winter the dolphin really touch me. Hope you enjoy this as much as me and my son did.
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on 8 February 2012
Dolphin Tale is a film, based on a true story, about a rather lovely dolphin named Winter and the people who help save her life. Poor Winter gets stuck in a crab trap and severely damages her tail and needs the assistance of a fabulous prothetics doctor and determined bunch of people to help her make a full recovery. The most remarkable actor in the film for me, is Winter the dolphin - she actually plays herself which certainly adds some emotion to the story. There has been some fictionalized elements brought into the film but it has a good storyline.

My children (aged 4 and 6) loved it. It was the perfect movie to watch on a Sunday afternoon. It was really enjoyable with all the elements that make up a great family film - it warms your heart, makes you laugh and makes you cry. If you like a film that covers a range of emotions, you'll like this!
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on 19 December 2013
Reason this gets 3 stars is because im reviewing it not my sister or else it would get a million lol. In my opinion i don't agree with captivity and video's like this make captivity seem like a good thing when it really isn't...i know Winter had a unfortunate accident and it left here with no choice in the matter but these animals don't belong in a small tank for our amusement. I won't go on all i will say is before you go to a marine park to see Dolphins or Orca's google 'THE COVE' or BLACKFISH' first and see how these animals end up in these tanks!
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on 15 September 2013
I bought this for my 10yr old daughter who had always turned her nose up at this film! A risk - definately! She watched it and totally loved it. Made her laugh and cry, and was much much better than she thought it would be. So pleased I bought it, and so is she. Would certainly recommend this family film.
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on 5 February 2013
I was persuaded to watch this movie by my nine year old daughter, and whilst I expect that the 'true story of Winter' was spun out beyond the realms of reality, I still found it a charming film.

From Wikipedia: The book and film are inspired by the true story of Winter, a bottlenose dolphin that was rescued in December 2005 off the Florida coast and taken in by the Clearwater Marine Aquarium. Winter lost her tail after becoming entangled with a rope attached to a crab trap and was fitted with a prosthetic one.

The production was excellent and well done Winter for such a great performance. The cast was fine but the real star was the dolphin, i.e. it didn't need power-house actors like Morgan Freeman to make it a good story.

I particularly liked the closing credits with images of disabled adults and children connecting with the dolphin. Very touching.

Call me a softy, but I liked it.
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on 26 November 2013
This would have to be the best family movie of the decade, with a fabulous cast and a great storyline about a true story of a dolphin called Winter, who by the way is the main actor and he plays his role fitting for a dolphin, should be in for the academy awards. The show is for all, young in the middle and old that will be cherished for years to come. Inspiring to all that is the main factor and believing that great things can happen, can. In the story a dolphin loses his tail and when found on the beach by a fisherman he is taken to a rescue place for native animals, Full of emotion yet portrayed wonderfully by Morgan Freeman & Ashley Judd two fantastic actors to be given credit for bringing this to light. The thrills are there and suspense that nothing is left out. Be prepared for the tears to roll and yet it teaches us to be grateful for what we have, and give more to others. I rated this A grade for full on entertainment keeping me glued to the chair throughout the entire movie. So now I have told you a little about this movie, don't take my word go and get it. So go and get the popcorn, pull up a chair slowly relax to a wonderful exciting and rewarding movie that will take your breath away. Enjoy!
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on 14 December 2015
I watched this with the girlfriend, wasn't particularly overjoyed with the idea, but was impressed from the beginning. A good film that tugs on the heart strings, certainly had her sobbing next to me! Great performance from all the cast, with some well known names thrown in.
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on 23 August 2015
I didn't watch this for a long time, having thought it might be a bit cheesy for adults. Turns out it is actually based on a true story of a beautiful dolphin. Both the story of the dolphin and the film are very inspiring for everyone.
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