October, 1988. Adam Carlson, a reporter for a local Anchorage television station, is currently in Barrow doing a series of pieces on the "local cultural color" of northern Alaska. While out on the sea ice filming a less than promising piece, he spots off in the distance what ends up being three California gray whales - a mother, father and son - who are literally imprisoned by ice which has surrounded them in the earlier than usual onset of winter. They are looking worse for wear as they have been ramming the ice surface to maintain a hole in the ice to be able to breathe and thus survive. The professional and cultural assessment he receives is that the whales, in their current situation, cannot survive for more than a few days, with the ice fives miles in distance to the open ocean with a vertical ice shelf that has developed midway. Adam's piece on the whales not only gets played on his station, but is picked up by news services throughout the States, including the national ...Written by
One of the reporters shown in the movie is played by Jackie Purcell, real-life chief meteorologist for KTUU-NBC Channel 2 in Anchorage, Alaska - the station for which Adam Carlson, John Krasinski's character, works in the film. See more »
Throughout the film, nobody's breath appears when they are outdoors, especially given the frigid temperatures that they were reporting. See more »
[Rachel approaches the hole in the ice for the first time; one whale pokes it's head out of the water]
Rachel, I'd like you to meet Fred.
[second whale pops up]
... and Wilma.
Good morning, Wilma! You're beautiful!
[third whale, the baby, comes up]
And this, is Bam Bam!
Hi Bam Bam! Wait... wasn't Pebbles Fred and Wilma's kid?
Yeah, but Pebbles was also a girl.
See more »
At the very end of the credits, when the Working Title logo appears, we hear the songs of the whales. See more »
Big Miracle looks deceiving due to its advertising. Looking like a sappy, clichéd mess of a cash in. Even at first impression, it's deceiving. Characters like the oft-seen charismatic ex-boyfriend, the spunky animal rights activist, the street-smart young kid, the pretty fish out of water journalist, the local elderly wiseman, the mean old oil tycoon turned good guy, the unlikely geniuses who provide comic relief, and even the self-absorbed douchebag news anchor had me fearing for its quality.
However, something about this true story just sticks. The script is overly clichéd, but there's a surprising heart and lack of cheap corniness to it that feels more honest than its sappy sounding premise may let on. It also boasts another surprising element: actual intelligence. It may not be groundbreaking, but it's done plenty of justice by an excellent cast. Even if it's not always focused, the powerful ending is happily earned, adding up to a satisfying family drama.
***1/2 / *****
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