The Christian Broadcasting Network



Email Updates

Latest entertainment articles and reviews. Subscribe

Weekly top stories and videos. Subscribe

Dolphin Tale

Movie Info


Rated PG for mild thematic elements.


Drama, Kids/Family


Sept. 23, 2011


Harry Connick Jr., Ashley Judd, Morgan Freeman, Kris Kristofferson, Nathan Gamble, Austin Stowell, Austin Highsmith, Kurt Yaeger, Cozi Zuehlsdorff


Charles Martin Smith


Warner Bros.

More on this movie at


More Christian movie reviews

Get the latest on Hollywood Insight: A Christian Movie Blog


Dolphin Tale Video Interviews

Harry Connick Jr. Harry Connick Jr.


Morgan Freeman Morgan Freeman


Charles Martin Smith Charles Martin Smith


Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff


Please Note:
In providing movie reviews on our site, is not endorsing or recommending films we review. Our goal is to provide Christians with information about the latest movies, both the good and the bad, so that our readers may make an informed decision as to whether or not films are appropriate for them and their families.

Dolphin Tale

By Hannah Goodwyn Senior Producer - It’s not Free Willy meets Flipper. Warner Bros.’s new family movie, opening this weekend, is about a dolphin and focuses on a young, troubled boy and his sea mammal friend. But, that’s where the plot decidedly goes in its own direction. Inspired by a true story, Dolphin Tale is an inspiring film for kids and grown ups too.

Director Charles Martin Smith's film has its drippy moments and doesn’t go quite as deep as the emotionally intense Free Willy, but that's what makes it a kid-friendly movie. It's still engaging, funny, hits home the importance of family, and doesn't contain questionable content.


Sawyer’s life is an unhappy and lonely one until he finds a friend in an injured dolphin he helps to rescue. Taken to the Clearwater Marine Hospital, the dolphin, soon named Winter, struggles to survive. The prognosis is dire, especially after the hospital’s lead marine biologist Dr. Clay Haskett (played by Harry Connick, Jr.) amputates her tail. Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) and the rest of the CMH team work around the clock, hoping for a turnaround. Desperate for a miracle, Sawyer reaches out to Dr. McCarthy (Morgan Freeman), a prosthetic specialist, to create a groundbreaking contraption that will allow Winter to swim, in effect, saving her life.


Starring Harry Connick, Jr., Ashley Judd (as Sawyer’s mom), Morgan Freeman, and Kris Kristofferson, Dolphin Tale has a good cast telling a remarkably true story of restoration. The film’s youngest stars, Nathan Gamble and Cozi Zuehlsdorff, pull their weight as well. In fact, these two notable actors prove their skill in the story’s dramatic and comedic scenes.

What’s even more moving than the film itself are the videos shown during the ending credits of the amateur video of Winter being rescued from the beach and the disabled men, women, and children who have visited Winter in Florida, and left inspired and filled with hope for their futures.

A family-friendly movie, Dolphin Tale has a PG rating for mild thematic elements. The stand-out obscenity is part of a Jason Mraz song used in the film. Young children may get distraught over seeing the dolphin in peril. But these scenes are tastefully done by the director, making the film, for the most part, suitable for all ages.


For what it is, a movie about two friends who wouldn’t give up on each other, this new movie from Warner Bros. is one to see. Dolphin Tale, though it won’t win any critical awards, hits all the right buttons for a good family film.

This movie critic’s one complaint against Dolphin Tale… 3D glasses. Why is it necessary to don this uncomfortable eyewear to see a movie in the theaters these days?

For more reviews like this one, sign up to receive's Entertainment email update.

Hannah GoodwynHannah Goodwyn serves as the Entertainment producer for For more articles and information, visit Hannah's bio page.

E-mail me!

Log in or create an account to post a comment.  

  • Translate
  • Print Page

Are you seeking answers in life? Are you hurting?
Are you facing a difficult situation?

A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.

Do You Know Jesus
Grow In Your Faith

Need Prayer?

Call 1-800-700-7000
Email your prayer request

Email iconSign up for E-mail Updates Full List