My number one reason for disliking “feel-good” films is simple fact that everything is so over-dramatized, manipulative and contrived. This type of story-telling – be it The Blind Side, Dolphin Tale, The Big Year and so on – is frustratingly nerve-wracking. While watching Big Miracle, this was my initial response – but learning afterward that everything that seems fake and corny is actaully real, you can’t help but enjoy it a little more.
In the October of 1988, a family of three whales was found using the last known ice hole near Point Barror, Alaska for a breathing hole. You see, they hadn’t began their migration to the waters of Mexico yet and the sea froze over on them. The hole they were found using was more than five miles from open water – a distance much too long for whales to swim under solid ice without drowning. When a local news anchor (John Krasinski) reported on the story, he earned the attention of national media outlets as well as that of his Greenpeace ex-girlfriend (Drew Barrymore).
The film quickly turns into a disaster-esque ensemble flick that keeps introducing new characters until the end. As zany and quirky as some of them may seem and as lame as some of the relationships are, everything character-related from the film is based on the real story. During the wrap-up before the closing credits, you’ll roll your eyes when you hear that two characters who met on the ice were married shortly thereafter – but it’s true! Knowing that the corny stuff is actually from real life moves Big Miracle up a few notches for its recent almost completely contrived counterpart Dolphin Tale.
There’s a time and place for everything, even cheesy feel-good family flicks. If it’s that time for you, your family will enjoy Big Miracle.