We saw Big Miracle a few months ago, and while I liked it, it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be. It was a better movie for adults to appreciate than for kids. As it was released around the same time as Dolphin Tale—which was marketed as a kids’ movie—I suppose I just made the connection myself.
Our homeschool groups vehemently supported the film, which made me wary of it initially since one group is pretty religious. I don’t care for Bible-thumping movies, despite the fact that I live in Missouri. That said, I am pleased to report that Dolphin Tale is anything but. It’s the story of a dolphin who gets caught in fishing nets—as dolphins do so often—and nearly dies. A middle-aged man and a young boy find her on the beach and report her to a nearby marine biology center, where she is taken in and cared for by a compassionate team of doctors.
The boy is fascinated with the dolphin and visits her, and they develop a rapport. Despite so many setbacks—not wanting to eat, having to have her tail removed due to infection, learning to swim with a stub, and more—the dolphin proves to be as determined and sentient as any being. In fact, the point that dolphins are considered people by many scientists is made.
I also love the take on schooling versus homeschooling in the movie, especially when the boy’s mom points out that he is learning much more every day when taking care of this dolphin than he would sitting in a class. Indeed, that is how most homeschoolers view our lives—we live all day, every day, and we don’t have to go to a special room to learn!—and I hope that this movie helped to convey that to people who are wary of homeschoolers. The little girl who homeschools in the movie is just delightful and reminds me of several girls I know in our co-op.
But the movie is more than a champion of homeschooling—which is really only mentioned once in the movie; it’s a story of friendship, courage, and camaraderie between humans and animals. There is a tale about how dolphins came to be, and how a legend says that they used to be humans, in the movie that I’d never heard of and I really enjoyed that, too. Plus, there’s plenty of good music, as well as laughs, to be had in the film, which children will really appreciate.