In 1988, three grey whales became trapped under the Arctic ice, near a small Alaskan town. An international rescue took place, and Big Miracle tells the story (or one loosely based on what happened). The effort is spearheaded by Greenpeace campaigner Rachel Kramer (Barrymore) and reported on by local newsman Adam Carlson (Krasinski), who was the first one to spot the stricken whales, and just happens to be Rachel’s ex.
It seems everyone wants to help, but each has a secret agenda from the oil man (Ted Danson) who lends his resources for some good publicity, to the White House staff who realise it’ll be a boost to then-vice president George Bush (Senior)’s popularity. Their various rescue efforts are intercut with real news footage from the time featuring US reporters such as Tom Brokaw and Dan Rather, and there are numerous 80s references to keep adults amused (including one clip of a young Sarah Palin when she was an Anchorage TV news girl). Kids, meanwhile, will like the save-the-whales story and the creatures themselves, although they don’t get as much aw-aren’t-they-cute screen time as the dolphin in Dolphin Tale or the killer whale in Free Willy. Well-meaning stuff, but perhaps not adorable enough fare for very young viewers.
Is Big Miracle suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
None. Younger viewers may be upset by the whales’ plight, especially when the baby whale is in danger.