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
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 Tale would have earned its mark by sticking a little closer to the hard truth. Grade: C-
Opens wide Sept. 23.