Reviewed by: Thaisha Geiger
Drew Barrymore … Rachel Kramer
John Krasinski … Adam Carlson
Tim Blake Nelson
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|Director:||Ken Kwapis—“He’s Just Not That Into You,” “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants,” “License to Wed”|
Working Title Films
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“A family of whales trapped beneath the ice. One unforgettable rescue. Inspired by the incredible true story that united the world.”
In 1988, a family of gray whales gets trapped within an enormous pack ice in Barrow, Alaska. With just a small opening not yet covered with ice, the whales only have a small area to obtain oxygen. Soon their desperate account is international news, and an enormous relief effort is formed, as people all around the world hope for the best.
The great majority of the film focuses on the plight of the whales. The different measures being discussed and shown take up a lot of screen time, so some viewers might find this film boring. However, for those who really want to know how much time and effort was placed in trying to free the whales would appreciate all the details.
Along the way, there are some subplots. Rachel Kramer (Drew Barrymore) is a Greenpeace activist who confronts J.W. McGraw (Ted Danson) when he wins a bid to drill in Alaska. McGraw only agrees to help the whales when his wife gently helps him see how this would be a good publicity stunt for his oil company. John Krasinski plays Adam Carlson, a motivated reporter, who first breaks the whale story.
The film has a strong environmental/liberal agenda, and the Reagan administration isn’t remembered too fondly. Oil tycoon McGraw is portrayed mostly as a greedy villain, while Rachel Kramer displays compassion. Though the characters are a bit one sided, there are moments where Kramer is condescending and confrontational to those who disagree with her views. She has to be reminded that people have gone out of their way to help the whales. And near the end, McGraw has a seemingly genuine moment where he compliments Kramer’s efforts with the whales, and the two polar opposites have somewhat of a truce.
The profanity is quite high for the PG rating. In all there are 13 uses: 6 hells, 4 d_mn, 1 b_stard, 1 SOB, and 1 jacka_s. God’s name is misused at least 3 times. One girl is called a “groupie”. A young boy states that a woman is “hot”. There’s a brief kiss scene near the end of the film. A female reporter is shown making it to the big leagues, by being able to land an interview with a well-known adulterer.
A spear is thrown towards a whale, but the scene is cut before the spear leaves the hunter’s hand. When a pilot’s eye gets frozen shut, a male reporter licks it in order for it to open. A female reporter states she’s drunk, but doesn’t really act like it. In the next immediate scene, she’s completely alert and reporting breaking news.
My favorite group of characters in the film is the Inupiat hunters. At one time, they were considering killing the trapped whales for food. They keep their composure as Rachel Kramer somewhat ridicules them at a town meeting. An Inupiat grandfather wisely tells the other hunters that they shouldn’t kill the whales, since the world would have “bloody” photos of them killing the whales. Though some protest on how the ocean is their garden, the grandfather explains that the world would not understand their culture. Afterward, the hunters go above and beyond in trying to help free the whales.
Of course, hunting the whales isn’t Biblically wrong. However, the hunters understand that not everyone agrees with it. In short, they are protecting their culture and the feelings of others when it comes to the whales. Likewise, Christians should watch how we speak and act, especially to those who do not believe, since we are living testaments of Christ’s sacrifice. In Colossians 4:5-6, Paul wrote:
Overall, I felt the film was decently made, but I don’t personally recommend it. Though a bit high on the cursing and liberal stance, “Big Miracle” does offer some valuable themes that could be used for Biblical discussions. If you do see it, make sure to watch the end credits. Real footage is shown of the real whales and the people who helped free them.
Violence: None / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.