OK for kids 8+
Animal-rescue tale has one death but otherwise OK for kids.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Big Miracle is an animal-rescue adventure that was inspired by a true story from the 1980s. Although the movie has positive messages about family, friendship, nature, and more, there's one very disturbing death that may cause little ones to cry out of sadness. Language includes a few exclamations like "damn," "holy crap," "hell," and "bastards," and mild flirting includes one kiss between a grown-up couple. Because this is a "period" drama, there are some political discussions about Reagan's administration versus the Greenpeace agenda. Kids will also learn about Inuit tribe culture, the difference between tribal and commercial whaling, and about whales and their migratory patterns.
- Families can talk about why save-the-animal movies are so popular. Do you prefer movies with animals that talk or realistic depictions like the whales in Big Miracle?
- What do you think the filmmakers wanted audiences to take away from the story? Were there political messages in the movie?
- Does seeing Big Miracle make you want to learn more about the real story that inspired it? Parents, talk to your kids what you were up to in the late '80s and whether you remember this trapped-whales news story.
The good stuff
Educational value: Kids will learn quite a bit about whales and their habitat and migratory patterns; Inuit culture and its connection to whales and whaling; the uneasy relationship between the United States and Russia in the late '80s; and the political differences in opinion between Greenpeace activists and the Regan administration.
Messages: Many positive messages about family, teamwork, nature, appreciating your cultural background, and even politics.
Role models: The Inuit tribe leader isn't just a chief, he's a grandfather who teaches Nathan about his heritage and how to listen to the whales. He also makes a decision to help rather than harvest the whales, even though it would benefit his people to use them for food and fuel. Nathan learns about his people and why the whales are so important to them. Rachel is a catalyst for change. Reagan's adviser is truly interested in the whales, not just how the situation will affect the administration.
What to watch for
Violence and scariness: The movie opens with an Inuit tribe hunting a whale, which they harpoon (this happens off camera). Bam Bam is injured during the ordeal; his breath sounds shaky and labored while he's ill. Spoiler alert: Children may become upset during an unexpected animal death. It's devastating, because audiences assume there will be a happily ever after. Expect younger kids to be disturbed, possibly to the point of crying. Also a few tense moments during a helicopter ride.
Sexy stuff: Nathan calls a TV reporter "hot." Adam flirts with Jill and eventually rekindles his relationship with Rachel; they share one kiss.
Language: Mild language and insults/name-calling include "hell," "stupid," "holy crap," "witch," "damn it," "cocky," "bastards," and "oh my God." Because the movie takes place in the '80s, the Inuit tribe is referred to by the less politically correct term "Eskimo."
Consumerism: The National Guard Colonel drives a Maserati and owns a JVC sound system and Mr. Coffee coffee maker. A Sony and RCA Walkman are also shown.
Drinking, drugs and smoking: In one scene in which two characters discuss job frustrations, many mini bottles of scotch are visible, and one character refers to herself as drunk. There might also be drinks on a table during a brief dinner scene or two, but it's not overt.
Fan Reviews provided by
Entertaining and Educational by whoamitojudge
This was much better than anticipated. It was a bit corny in parts, but overall it was very entertaining and educational and held the interest of my 7-year old girl, 11-year old and 14-year old boys. The older two didn't even want to see it and afterwards they were glad they did.
Very touching story with fabulous views of Alaska! by rebecca m
Living in Alaska while this movie was filmed, I was not really sure what to expect when we hit the movie theater this weekend. The landscape just makes you want to experience our great big state! The story is touching and there is enough reality within the story to make you feel a part of it. The nuances that Hollywood added to make the situation somewhat more romantic did not impact the message of the movie. The Native Alaskan people were portrayed as the wonderful caretakers of this vast wilderness, which is what they are and have been for so long! The movie reminds us that we are all much more than mere inhabitants of the Earth; we must strive to also be caretakers and problem solvers in order to preserve it. The movie made me feel good about my recycling efforts, and the fact that my family picks up trash where ever we visit in Alaska. My 5 year old freaked out on us once she realized the plight of the whales and that it was filmed here, but it was a fabulous movie experience!!!!!
Big Miracle by Chrisap
Enjoyed the movie. Took my 9 and 5 year old grand daughters who also enjoyed it. Good story line and we all love something with mammals or sea life right? Like Drew Barrymore and Ted Danson so that was a plus as well. Would recommend it as good all around family entertainment. Have been telling the rest of the family to see it as well.
Loved it! by DeleneSC
My husband and I really liked the film. The acting was excellent and a few actors I didn't know were in the film turned it wonderful performances. The cinematography was beautiful, and since this was based on a true story, there was real TV coverage woven into the movie. It seemed to stay pretty true to the actual incident. Recommended for anyone of any age who has empathy towards animals. You'll learn some things about grey whales too. These mammals are magnificent. It's realistic, inspiring, funny, and a must see!
Good Movie by NMHiker
I enjoyed the movie. i didn't read any of the reviews before going. This made it so much better.
Don't necessarily buy into the cynics and what they say about the movie. Go see it form your own opinion. It shows what we could be if we would cooperate with each other.
Great movie, but a little long by wolfpacleader1986
I am a HUGE fan of "feel-good" movies and this movie is right up there with the rest of them. To me, this was a modern day "Free Willy", but based in fact.
It is at the center, a love story, between a news reporter and an ex who works for Greenpeace who he still has feelings for. It also is the story of how people from different backgrounds, nations, and beliefs can come together for the good of nature.
I'm NOT going to lie, I'm a man's man and there were moments that I actually teared up during this movie. The big one is a HUGE spoiler, so I don't want to say what it is, but your eyes will tell you for SURE.
It's a VERY heartwarming film and definitely one the whole family can see.
My main problem with this movie, however, is its length and it's enough for me to knock it down from "Must Go" to "Go". The pacing is a little slow, and even though it clocks in at around 1:45, it feels longer than that. If that's NOT a problem for you, then by all means, go see it!
Loved it! by susswda
Great movie! Heart warming and good for all ages. Nthe kids loved it too!
Big Miracle by popcorn55
I took my grandkids to see this movie. They loved it. It had a couple of sad scences but overall it was a good movie for the family to see!
A Small Breach by filmfatale
I went in thinking this was going to be one of my favorite genre, feel good nature movies. While this true story is amazing, that it was a turning point in history for world awareness of the other denizens of our planet, I think Hollywood hurt the true sensitivity. I may be a snob but if Ted Danson is a major character, along with Drew Barrymore, my negative commercial radar goes up. The dialogue is predictable. The romances and transitions are also handled so tritely, you could practically recite them.
There are some cute comic moments, but I don't think this movie should have been intentionally cute, or the romances emphasized. The p
The whales and their story are the real stars. No hype. The Eskimo grandfather is the best performance in the film.
For the whales, for the Eskimo tribe, this is a film worth seeing, particularly for kids and adults who don't remember the story well enough.