Big Miracle

Big Miracle

This moving story is a great family film.

We have been renting a lot of family films lately since it has been so hot outside, and while a couple of them were duds, others have been real winners. I’ve already written about how much we enjoyed We Bought a Zoo, a film I wouldn’t mind watching again; today I’d like to recommend another animal-related film that we watched just last night, Big Miracle.

Big Miracle is the story of three whales—a family dubbed Fred, Wilma, and Bam Bam by the locals—trapped beneath the ice in Alaska. The trio were stuck because temperatures froze earlier than usual, before they were able to escape, and as the ice closed around them, they faced certain death in a matter of days.

Based on a true story, the rescue of these whales started as a Greenpeace concern but quickly turned to a huge crusade featuring local Eskimo people, reporters, politicians, and even the military—both from the United States as well as Russia. It was a really gripping account at how so many became involved—for so many different reasons—yet how, by the end, a common cause united them and they were all able to find compassion for the creatures by the end of the film. (Spoiler alert to follow.)

If you have a sensitive child, you might want to wait to watch this film as one of the whales—the baby, Bam Bam—doesn’t make it due to injuries sustained trying to get air as well as pneumonia. My daughter was absolutely crushed; she is six and that is all she can still talk about, how Bam Bam died. Older children will probably still enjoy the story of how the rest of the whales survive.

That said, I think adults will appreciate how political lines didn’t matter when it ultimately came to saving these creatures from death. Yes, many were reluctant—and involved for good PR—but the outcome was so inspiring. We really can do a lot together no matter where we are coming from, and sometimes even the most misguided intentions can help attain optimal results.

I really enjoyed the ending, where they showed actual real footage of the events and news alongside the film’s footage. We also got to learn about what happened to each person in the movie, which was fun. The movie was exciting, emotional, and had a depth one might not expect; not one group of people was portrayed as all-good or all-bad, which is how humans truly are. What a fantastic piece of both art and history.