In an inspiring story of the bond between animals and humans, a boy named Sawyer discovers an injured dolphin, who is brought to a marine hospital and named Winter. Unfortunately, her injuries cost Winter her tail, without which she may not survive. But with Sawyer's devotion, a marine biologist's (Harry Connick Jr.) and the brilliance of a prosthetist (Morgan Freeman) charged with creating a new tail, Winter may receive a second chance at life.
Inspired by a true story, Dolphin Tale is about courage, ingenuity, and never giving up. Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) is a young boy who's struggling with school and doesn't have many friends other than his cousin Kyle (Austin Stowell). When Kyle, a star swimmer, joins the army to earn money for college and is called to active duty, it looks like Sawyer is destined to spend his summer alone tinkering in the garage and attending summer school. Sawyer stumbles upon a dolphin that's been severely injured, becomes fascinated by dolphins, and is suddenly intellectually engaged like never before. In spite of his shyness, he forms a friendship with marine rescue doctor Clay (Harry Connick Jr.) and his daughter Hazel (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) and, more importantly, a special and very powerful bond with the rescued dolphin, who's dubbed Winter. As the newly formed team struggles to save Winter's life and ensure her continued safety, financial concerns, an accident that leaves Kyle crippled for life, and a hurricane all seem to join forces against them. In the end, it is Sawyer's determination, coupled with a little bit of luck and a lot of ingenuity from an army doctor (Morgan Freeman) who specializes in prosthetics, that helps make each member of the team, including Kyle and Winter, whole again. The talented cast does a great job of creating completely believable characters, but Gamble, Zuehlsdorff, Connick, Freeman, Stowell, and of course Winter, who plays herself, all deserve special mention. While the story of an injured animal rescued and rehabilitated has certainly been told before, this film is emotionally powerful and will absolutely captivate children and adults alike. (Ages 5 and older) --Tami Horiuchi