Media Monday: Dolphin Tale

I admit it. I used the television as a babysitter when our girls were growing up.

Small Wonder cast
Small Wonder cast


Small Wonder was a lifesaver while I was fixing dinner. Vici and her family kept the kids occupied while I boiled pasta and stirred sauces.


As grandparents though, we rarely turn on the television when the grands are here. In nice weather, we play outside, or they’re in the water. In winter, they know where the toys are stored and can spend hours with the big doll house or books or Legos.

When our satellite TV provider had a free preview weekend, I recorded several movies I thought the little ones would enjoy. Brave and PochahontasMamma Mia and Dolphin Tale.

I expected the three-year-old would be enamored with the animated films, but the one she requests over and over again is Dolphin Tale.

Dolphin Tale
Dolphin Tale

It’s about a boy in Florida who helps rescue a beached dolphin whose tail is severely injured in a crab trap. Sawyer begins visiting the dolphin at the marine rescue hospital and they bond. He and the daughter of the staff vet become friends. It’s apparently based on a “true story.”

The true part is that the dolphin, named Winter, was rescued and did have her tail amputated and did learn to swim again with a prosthetic tail. She has inspired many other people, amputees and disabled, to face their own challenges and persevere.

I always watch these kinds of movies with a jaded eye. I expect a strong environmental message. If the message is blatant and a hard sell, I discount both the message and the film.

Dolphin Tale‘s message is quite subtle and more about Winter’s effect on the people she inspires.

I’ve watched it several times now, both in full and parts. It’s a bit predictable, sure, but over all, we enjoy it. Good thing, since I doubt the three-year-old will tire of it any time soon. (We do watch it only after playing outside. Or while playing with the doll house inside.)

The grand-daughter is enamored of a small cast resin bird I have for decoration on a shelf. She’s named the bird Rufus, after a pelican in Dolphin Tale and carries it everywhere when she’s here. We haven’t yet seen Dolphin Tale 2 but I expect it will be on the DVR when it’s aired.

In the mean time, we’ll make do with Rufus and the original, still on the DVR and which I don’t dare erase.