'Dolphin Tale' Reviews: It's Definitely Not What You're Expecting (VIDEO)

dolphin taleFrom the sounds of it, expectations of a Dolphin Tale (at least on the part of adults) were very, very low. After all, we've heard the story a million times before. Dreamy, lonely kid whose parents have split up is doing poorly in school. Then lo and behold he meets a chatty young girl and an injured animal (a trapped dolphin named Winter) with whom he falls in love, and his life turns into the heartwarming stuff jumbo boxes of Kleenex were made for.

There are morals to the story and a happy ending (no spoiler here, we know this because it's a true story), but don't let any of that stop you from seeing this feel-good flick.

Winter, the dolphin at the center of the story, plays itself -- prosthetic tail and all. Morgan Freeman (who plays a wise doctor) and Harry Connick (who plays a marine biologist)  are getting great reviews. Yes, the critics are saying the moving is incredibly predictable, but it's not as sappy and schmaltzy as any of them expected.


See what they have to say and you might be fighting your husband over who gets to take the kids to see it:

"You couldn’t come up with a simpler, more nakedly inspirational story than the one told in Dolphin Tale: Unhappy, disengaged child of single mom finds a wounded dolphin caught in a trap’s ropes and cuts it free; proceeds to bond with the rescue group that’s working to rehabilitate said dolphin; becomes a chief player in dolphin’s gradual and difficult return to swimming with confidence. But even if Dolphin Tale hits every note square on the nose — or maybe because it does — watching it is surprisingly pleasurable." -- Movieline

"The feel goodness of Dolphin Tale overcomes cliches. The film’s strength lies in using the real dolphin to illustrate its own journey and what she represents to inspire humans who have lost their limbs. The weakness is trying to shoehorn a number of well-intentioned fictional roles around her, who don’t accentuate much about the truth, and follow character roadmaps that have been seen before." -- HollywoodChicago

Dolphin Tale pretty much hits all the family-film bases. And that it manages to be not insufferable while still being so predictable is a small tribute to its cast and crew." -- Stephen Whitty, The Star Ledger

"But Dolphin Tale turns out to tell an interestingly crowded story. It is rudimentary and even a little clumsy in its filmmaking technique (not a small matter), but there's some narrative ambition at least in its inventions built upon the real-life rescue of Winter, who was no stranger to adversity and therefore destined for the movies." -- Michelle Phillips, Los Angeles Times

"It's no spoiler to say that there is a happy ending, partly because this is the kind of constantly uplifting heart-warmer in which even the villains are congenial, but also because the injured animal is played by its real-life counterpart ... It's a cute story if you don't mind temporarily trading in your cynicism for a bag of popcorn." --- Keith Staskiewicz, CNN

"This is not only kid-friendly fare, but a lovely family movie. The story of healing and courage is told with a refreshing lack of cynicism." -- Claudia Puig, USA Today




If you do go to see Dolphin Tale, stick around for the closing credits -- they feature the real people involved in saving Winter's life and other real life happy scenes.


Image via Warner Brothers

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