DRAMA; 1hr 53min
STARRING: Harry Connick Jr, Ashley Judd, Nathan Gamble, Morgan Freeman
Soul mates: Gamble and Winter
Dolphins are smiley enchanters and Winter (as herself) is a princess of the breed. Dolphin Tale is a simple story, based on a real one, about an unhappy 11-year-old boy (Gamble as Sawyer Nelson) whose bonding with Winter is a small miracle of healing for them both. There’s no hope for Sawyer to hold out for when he comes across the injured Winter, trapped by a crab pot and stranded on a Florida beach. His father has abandoned him and his mother (Judd), and Sawyer is unmoored. In his own way, he needs rescuing as urgently as she.
Nothing flash is going on here: the performances are plain spoken and the marine hospital where Winter recuperates (and where Connick is head veterinarian) is ramshackle. But in a celebration of smaller moments — a cantankerous pelican, a remote-controlled helicopter running amok — the bonding of boy and dolphin is an especially tenderhearted thing. Not to mention Winter’s unlikely resurrection, thanks to Freeman as the doctor who builds her a prosthetic tale. I defy you not to cry.