The grading, in this case, is on a generous curve because this inspired by a true story family drama from actor-turned-director Charles Martin Smith has all the hallmarks of a terribly mainstream project (cute kids, returning soldiers with rehabilitation issues, a wounded animal and Morgan Freeman paired with Ashley Judd and Harry Connick Jr.) with not an ounce of grit or drama to unsettle anyone’s nerves.
Young Sawyer (Nathan Gamble) is a too-shy kid being raised by his single mother (Judd) who happens upon a dolphin injured after getting caught in a crab trap and teams up with a rehabilitation doctor (Connick Jr.) and his gregarious daughter (Cozi Zuehlsdorff) to nurse the dolphin back to health
Could this story be any more perfectly aligned for a huge uplifting finish for the little ones in the likely target audience? If only it hadn’t tried so hard to inspire, maybe this Talewould have earned its mark by sticking a little closer to the hard truth. Grade: C-
Opens wide Sept. 23.