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Dolphin Tale More at IMDbPro »

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356 out of 385 people found the following review useful:

What a great film!

Author: Mindy Mullen from United States
10 September 2011

Congrat's Charlie Smith, you've done it again. Congrat's Andrew Kosove and Broderick Johnson...and Bob Engelman. I've been a part of a lot of films in our industry, as an actress, a choreographer, a director...and there are only a handful of great films you can point too, that you can watch over and over and over, and it never gets old. Dolphin Tale will be added to that list. From Morgan Freeman to Ashley Judd, all of the actors were phenomenal. The child actor Nathan Gamble pours his little heart into this one, and will become the new it young actor. Harry Connick Jr. is the dad of all dads, and the young actress Cozi Zuehlsdorff will will eventually become a wonderful little actress if she stays away from troublemakers in the industry. There were also a lot of successful actors in the supporting cast that helped make this film one for the ages. like, Frances Sternhagen, Kris Kristofferson, Ray McKinnon, Jim Fitzpatrick, Marc Macauly and Richard Libertini. And last but not least Winter. If you love animals and/or too will love Dolphin Tale!

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120 out of 157 people found the following review useful:

OMG, totally loved this film.

Author: Cathy Callaway from Los Angeles, California
18 September 2011

Without going into a dissertation of my life and background I went to the Warner Brother's Premiere last night at the village theater in Westwood and my eyes were watery almost the entire movie. Being an animal lover and activist I would equate this film in it's quality to several other extremely successful animal feature films, which I love and watch, over and over again.

Dolphin Tale reminded me of some of the greatest animal films I've ever seen, such as 'My Dog Skip' 'Born Free' 'Babe' 'Old Yeller' 'Marley and Me' Benji' 'Free Willy' 'Lassie' and 'Flipper' but better! The family relationships between Ashley Judd and Nathan Gamble (mother & son) and then Gamble and Austin Stowell (1st cousins) and then Stowell and his parents Kim Ostrenko (Judd's sister) and Jim Fitzpatrick (Judd's brother in law & Stowell's father) and then Gamble and Winter the Dolphin and then Winter and Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff (Gamble's new best friend) and her dad Harry Connick Jr (Marine Biologist) and then Connick and his dad Kris Kristofferson...was priceless.

The story of Winter obviously is what drives this film, but it the relationships is what makes this movie so emotional and visceral. Everyone will be able to associate themselves with these relationships.

Not to mention that the film is beautifully shot and it appears as though the town of Clearwater beach is a a cozy little beautiful place.

This may be THEE BEST animal movies EVER made...EVER!

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99 out of 116 people found the following review useful:

Great for the family

Author: smcgough1019 from United States
31 August 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This movie is a fun, feel good movie the whole family can enjoy. Don't let the PG rating scare off the little ones. The only reason I can figure they gave it a PG rating is because of the talk of prosthetics and because Winter loses her tail. It is based on the story of Winter the dolphin. A lot of it is true although they have "hollywooded" it up. I saw it in 3D. I think the cinematography was beautiful. The colors were very vibrant. Winter is an inspiration to us all. She shows kids that anyone can overcome obstacles.

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100 out of 125 people found the following review useful:

Everything to love!

Author: huntclan-148-10669 from United States
31 August 2011

I brought my 8 year old daughter with me to preview Dolphin Tale and we both LOVED it! This is a perfect family movie and I couldn't recommend it enough. The message was positive and although there were some heavy topics addressed - it wasn't over the top... you leave feeling good with lots to think about. This isn't just a movie that encourages you to never give up. It did a great job bringing up real issues like self-image, pride, acceptance of those who are different, self-worth, homeschooling, importance of family, the power of a good family, the value of family. It addresses family relationships, friendship with those who are different, public school issues... oh, and so much more! This movie opens opportunity for discussion with your kids OR you can just go and enjoy the story. Can't wait to see it again in September!

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79 out of 92 people found the following review useful:

An Inspiration to us all

Author: Twodude Review from South Jersey
10 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Inspirational films are often difficult to review. The movie is inspirational for a reason; therefore, it's usually telling a story of someone making the best out of a bad situation. The problem is that no one wants to be the person to say the movie isn't worth watching. Thankfully, Dolphin Tale isn't one of those movies. Dolphin Tale tells the true story of Winter, a dolphin who due to a very unfortunate accident loses her tail and the group of people who help her to survive despite her handicap.

Director Charles Martin Smith, best known for his roles in The Untouchables and Never Cry Wolf, takes a heartfelt story and presents it just as is. The movie's lead is a young actor named Nathan Gamble, who plays Sawyer Nelson. . Gamble is surrounded by high level talent, which you usually don't find in movies of this type; Ashley Judd, plays Lorraine Nelson, Sawyer's mom; Morgan Freeman, working alongside of Judd for the third time, plays Dr. McCarthy, a VA doctor tasked with trying to create a working prosthetic to replace Winter's tail; and Harry Connick Jr. is doctor Clay Haskett, who runs the Clearwater Marine Aquarium and along with his team is mostly responsible for saving Winter's life. Judd provides an endearing charm as Lorraine, and her enthusiasm shines through. There couldn't have been anyone better to play Dr. McCarthy than the great Morgan Freeman. Freeman gives credence to Dr. McCarthy and, thanks to him not being in the right frame of mind, his dedication to creating a new tail for Winter. The charismatic Harry Connick Jr. gives a stellar performance, providing Sawyer with a role model. Cozi Zuehlsdorf makes her acting debut as Hazel Haskett, Sawyer's best friend. Along with Sawyer, the two of them work together to make some magical happen. Zuehlsdorf's shining personality and adorable smile, along with her chattiness, reminded me of what makes my own daughter so special. Not to be overlooked or forgotten, Winter the Dolphin plays herself and is a wonder to watch.

Dolphin Tale teaches and inspires in so many ways. It teaches us to not judge anyone that may be different; it teaches us that family is forever; it inspires us to be role models; it inspires single parents to keep up the great work; and most importantly it inspires those that have set back to never give up. Winter's story is an incredible miracle. As I sat between my son, who's almost 8, and my daughter who is 5, I couldn't help but well up with tears at the determination of these extraordinary people as they all went above and beyond in the hopes of saving a fish; yes, I know that dolphins are mammals and are not really fish. At the end of the movie, I asked my kids how they liked it and they both said that they loved it. They then asked me how I liked it, and my response to them was "I think that may have been my favorite movie so far this summer." I no longer have to think about it, it IS my favorite movie so far this year.

Grade: A+

Be sure to check out Winter at; and then check out our website at

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58 out of 65 people found the following review useful:

A perfect family movie!

Author: dan-169-25741 from Florida
24 September 2011

This is the first review I have written, but I feel obligated as this movie was so perfect for its genre. I'm not saying it is an academy award winner, but as far as inspirational, age appropriate and inspiring family movies go, if simply won't get much better than this.

Let me start by saying that I have a child with a physical disability, and during his second surgery, his school class gave him a book about Winter. This was way before the movie, and I had never heard of Winter. My son (age 5), who loves fish and sea life, was instantly taken with the idea of a dolphin that was special like he was. We read the book many times, and even at the hospital we promised that someday he would get to meet Winter.

About six months after his surgery, we traveled to Clearwater from our home on the opposite Florida Coast (4 hour drive). When we arrived we found the aquarium there very sparse and not all that impressive. That said, they were majorly renovating due to the money that they were paid to make this movie even though it still wasn't out yet. That said, Winter was well worth the trip. She is every bit as inspirational and real as what you see in the movie. I'm only bringing this up to focus on my movie review. This is for anyone that thought the movie was over the top sappy or cheesy. I'm sorry, but that part is true and to not make it look that way would be virtually impossible. Winter gives hope to people with special needs. My son even made her a card and got to hold her special tail.

The other features of the movie like the boy finding her and probably many other aspects are creative license. She was actually found by a boat on the East coast of Florida. But, I don't think that really matters. When we went there, even with no movie, and met Winter we knew that she was a movie star.

The movie itself was well produced, well-acted (Morgan Freeman was very good), and took on difficult themes subtly for young children. I guess the best comparison to this would be Free Willy, however that story was pure fantasy and simply not as good of a movie, in any way, to Dolphin Tale.

I highly recommend this movie for any family, especially anyone with a disability. And as far as the barely believable and possibly sappy plot, sometime real life is like that and that is a good thing!

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58 out of 68 people found the following review useful:

Great Kids' Stuff

Author: jdesando from United States
23 September 2011

"Family is forever."

Although Dolphin Tale is by far not my favorite film of the year, like Midnight in Paris, it is a solid kids' film, an adventure that treats animals and 11 year olds with respect and doesn't demonize adults.

A dolphin, Winter, needs a new tail to survive a crab-trap entanglement, and 11 year old Sawyer Nelson is the new friend to help her through the adjustment. His job: show us that being excited about something worthwhile is the answer to school blues and mother loss. The film is aces at showing that being engaged in helping a living being leads to success and happiness.

A slew of other good-willed people help Winter, from like-minded friends to doctors to grandpas. And that's the sweet point of the film, emblazoned on an all-purpose Swiss Army knife: "Family is Forever." With two crucial families needing a mother in one and a father in the other, "family" extends to the community that nurtures children, adults, and animals. Not only does a Clearwater, Florida, marine rescue hospital need financial support to continue, so also does a crippled soldier and Winter. The figurative connections are obvious but still carefully entered into the drama so as not to heighten the sugar content.

Besides, any movie that includes Kris Kristofferson as a benevolent grandpa and Morgan Freeman as a caring prosthetics doctor can't be all bad. For a supposedly sophisticated film critic, I'm veritably childlike in the presence of these accomplished actors. BTW, Ashley Judd as single mom gets my attention, as she always does.

Yet that Winter, she's all any man could want: smart and silky with mysterious eyes that seem to say, "With our help, you men will make it just fine." No man bashing in this film, just recognition that communal charity and mutual respect will win the day.

Something about this Disneyesque, retro children's adventure makes me happy.

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44 out of 55 people found the following review useful:

Emotional, entertaining, and captivating!

Author: Edmond C from Canada
13 September 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

The story of Dolphin Tale is very inspirational and uplifting. It teaches us not to give up when all seems hopeless. Winter lost her tail and the aquarium was poised to close down due to financial issues. After the aquarium exhausted all possible options, they had to sell the aquarium, but no other centres are willing to accept Winter. The last option they have was to put her down peacefully. Despite the hopelessness, young Sawyer Nelson (played by Nathan Gamble) refuses to give up. After witnessing a mother and her little girl who has only one leg were willing to drive hours up from out of town just to see Winter, Sawyer came up with a brilliant plan that can save this handicapped dolphin. Although Sawyer failed many of his school subjects, he is indeed brilliant. His mom was surprised by his knowledge, commitment and intelligence, brought forth by what he was interested in.

There are many lessons that we can take from Dolphin Tale. One of the many lessons is that children who may not seem bright at first, just needs to find a subject of interest to them in order to display their intelligence. Moreover, miracles do happen, but sometimes we need to persevere long enough and never give up before we are able to see it happen. Dolphin Tale teaches us that there is hope even when all seems hopeless.

Dolphin Tale neither has a typical villain nor a big climax. It is simply an inspirational movie that I find to be emotional, entertaining and captivating. It is children friendly and excellent for the whole family to watch. I was astounded by this movie and I highly encourage everyone to watch it. The actors and actresses truly deliver. Moreover, I am once again dazzled by Gamble's acting as he brilliantly portrays the character of Sawyer Nelson. I look forward to his future projects and I believe he will continue to rise in the film industry.

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47 out of 61 people found the following review useful:

Excellent Family Movie!

Author: Kerry Jo Newton from Texas
24 September 2011

This film was enjoyed by everyone in my family yesterday. My husband, 10 year old daughter and 12 year old son all fell in love with the characters in this movie. Not only does it have great actors, but it is chalk full of great messages; lots of lessons to be learned here. You will not be disappointed! Take your family, knowing you won't have to cringe due to, even a hint of, profanity or pornography. You can sit back, relax, laugh and learn while you enjoy a story that is not just about a dolphin, but about families who realize that nothing is impossible,even when faced with adversities that seem hopeless. Never give up!

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28 out of 38 people found the following review useful:

Really shows the beauty of Winter!

Author: tricia112411 from St. Petersburg, FL
22 September 2011

We have been visiting Winter for years. She is very special and this movie certainly captures her amazing spirit. With all the big names in this movie, Winter is a star. This movie was sweet and fun. I am easily bored by kids movies but this one kept me entertained and wanting more. My 10 year old who wears a prosthesis LOVED this movie. Winter has helped her understand she is not alone and Winter's "nothing's going to stop me" attitude is fully displayed.

I was concerned how my 13 year old son would like the movie. It's hard to impress him these days. But he loved it!! He said he can't wait to see it again! Definitely is a movie that is worth seeing in the theater. I also think this movie is totally worth the 3D money! The 3D was REALLY fun!!

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