Francesca Rudkin is an entertainment reviewer for NZ Herald.

Movie review: The Whale

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A scene from The Whale. Photo / Supplied
A scene from The Whale. Photo / Supplied

A moving and beautifully shot nature documentary, The Whale tells the true story of an orca whale named Luna who lost contact with his family in a fjord on Vancouver Island in 2003.

Executive produced by Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds, The Whale follows Luna over a four-year period as he seeks out companionship above and below water in his adopted home of Nootka Sound. To the amazement of locals, and the film-makers and scientists following his progress, Luna is a big softie who likes to the patted and touched by humans.

But his habit of approaching boats and planes and befriending people in the fjord becomes a concern to government officials worried about the safety of Luna and the public, and it's the beginning of an involved discussion about what to do with him.

This film aims to improve our perception of orcas and there are plenty of talking heads happy to give their opinion. It is overly emotional and touchy-feely at times and even though Reynolds was a good choice to voice this story, his extensive narration works too hard to describe just how special and spiritual Luna's visit supposedly is.

The Whale is accessible for kids without catering just to them, although - and here's a small spoiler alert - there's no happy Hollywood ending here. This life story comes with both the ups and the downs.

Stars: 3/5
Cast: Luna
Director: Suzanne Chisholm and Michael Parfit
Running time: 95 mins
Rating: G
Verdict: A documentary that asks a lot of questions, yet answers few convincingly

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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