Reviews - Specialty Releases


Film Review: Dolphin Boy

As if we needed any more reason to love dolphins, this doc suggests they could save us from the shrink.

April 27, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1332868-Dolphin_Boy_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Are there any animals on earth more compellingly adorable than dolphins? Penguins, panda bears, capuchin monkeys and meerkats might all come close, but for sheer photo friendliness and personality, nothing beats these sleek aquatic miracles. Dolphins’ strong connection to human behavior is, of course, apparent to anyone who has ever taken one of those rather cheesy dolphin rides while on vacation, but what is less known is this animal’s capacity for psychological therapy.

This is the terrain covered over a four-year period in Dani Menkin and Yonatan Nir’s Dolphin Boy. It focuses on Morad, an angelically handsome Arab boy who suffers from post-traumatic stress. He was brutally assaulted by classmates in his village in northern Israel during a contretemps involving a girl, rendering him almost catatonic and suffering from insomnia and nightmares. Rather than seek bloody revenge against his assailants, which would most likely result in an endless vendetta, his distraught but supportive father takes him to Dolphin Reef, a haven where man and beast swim together freely in a natural space.

The understanding staff takes Morad under their wing and, after sessions of dolphin therapy that include swimming, petting and feeding, the boy comes alive again, able to confront not only his past but his victimizers. Nothing is without its price, however, and the aftermath of violence remains instilled in Morad in ways that will haunt the viewer.

Although the filmmakers get a little repetitive with talking-head interviews of the Dolphin Reef staff and such like, Dolphin Boy is a compassionate study that admirably refrains from pumping up the sentimentality. Morad and his dignified dream of a loving father, who finds release by practicing his own therapy of singing and dancing, sneak into your heart in an honest, unpretentious way. The dolphins are, of course, the real stars here and, as much as you may already like them, this film will open your eyes to their additional, formidable, hitherto unknown capacities and cause you to look upon them with new favor during your next zoo visit.


Film Review: Dolphin Boy

As if we needed any more reason to love dolphins, this doc suggests they could save us from the shrink.

April 27, 2012

-By David Noh


filmjournal/photos/stylus/1332868-Dolphin_Boy_Md.jpg

For movie details, please click here.

Are there any animals on earth more compellingly adorable than dolphins? Penguins, panda bears, capuchin monkeys and meerkats might all come close, but for sheer photo friendliness and personality, nothing beats these sleek aquatic miracles. Dolphins’ strong connection to human behavior is, of course, apparent to anyone who has ever taken one of those rather cheesy dolphin rides while on vacation, but what is less known is this animal’s capacity for psychological therapy.

This is the terrain covered over a four-year period in Dani Menkin and Yonatan Nir’s Dolphin Boy. It focuses on Morad, an angelically handsome Arab boy who suffers from post-traumatic stress. He was brutally assaulted by classmates in his village in northern Israel during a contretemps involving a girl, rendering him almost catatonic and suffering from insomnia and nightmares. Rather than seek bloody revenge against his assailants, which would most likely result in an endless vendetta, his distraught but supportive father takes him to Dolphin Reef, a haven where man and beast swim together freely in a natural space.

The understanding staff takes Morad under their wing and, after sessions of dolphin therapy that include swimming, petting and feeding, the boy comes alive again, able to confront not only his past but his victimizers. Nothing is without its price, however, and the aftermath of violence remains instilled in Morad in ways that will haunt the viewer.

Although the filmmakers get a little repetitive with talking-head interviews of the Dolphin Reef staff and such like, Dolphin Boy is a compassionate study that admirably refrains from pumping up the sentimentality. Morad and his dignified dream of a loving father, who finds release by practicing his own therapy of singing and dancing, sneak into your heart in an honest, unpretentious way. The dolphins are, of course, the real stars here and, as much as you may already like them, this film will open your eyes to their additional, formidable, hitherto unknown capacities and cause you to look upon them with new favor during your next zoo visit.
Post a Comment
Asterisk (*) is a required field.
* Author: 
Rate This Article: (1=Bad, 5=Perfect)

*Comment:
 

More Specialty Releases

Happy Christmas
Film Review: Happy Christmas

Joe Swanberg's latest feature is a collection of strong individual scenes and performances that never quite finds its statement of purpose. More »

Very Good Girls
Film Review: Very Good Girls

More of a meandering, misguided path than a road to hell, Naomi Foner’s directing debut, starring Dakota Fanning and Elizabeth Olsen as 18-year-old BFFs, is similarly filled with good intentions. More »

The Kill Team
Film Review: The Kill Team

Marine Adam Winfield goes on trial in a case in which U.S. soldiers murdered innocent Afghanis. Strong subject marred by poor narrative choices. More »

The Divine Move
Film Review: The Divine Move

Excessive violence and off-the-wall plotting undermine an intriguing game-based premise. More »

ADVERTISEMENT



REVIEWS

Guardians of the Galaxy review
Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

With Marvel’s backing, cult filmmaker James Gunn blasts off for the stars and takes audiences along for a wild, funny ride. More »

Hercules
Film Review: Hercules

Legendary strongman is caught in the middle of a brutal civil war in a fast-paced vehicle for Dwayne Johnson. More »

Player for the Film Journal International website.


ADVERTISEMENT



INDUSTRY GUIDES

» Blue Sheets
FJI's guide to upcoming movie releases, including films in production and development. Check back weekly for the latest additions.

» Distribution Guide
» Equipment Guide
» Exhibition Guide

ORDER A PRINT SUBSCRIPTION

Film Journal International

Subscribe to the monthly print edition of Film Journal International and get the full visual impact of this valuable resource for the cinema business.

» Click Here

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

Learn how to promote your company at the Film Expo Group events: ShowEast, CineEurope, and CineAsia.

» Click Here