28th 2012
Big Miracle

Posted under media

John Krasinksi and Drew Barrymore in Big Miracle

I laughed, I cried, I loved it!

I finally had a chance to take in Big Miracle. This required a trip to Boston since none of the theaters in my local area opted to show the film. I’ve been following along with reviews and articles about both the film and original events, so had an idea what to expect. All the same, I had a strong emotional response to the movie. And I don’t hesitate to recommend it to others.

The brief summary: three grey whales find themselves trapped by ice miles from open water, unable to hold their breath long enough to get out from under the ice cover. Discovered by chance, their plight grows into a story that held the world’s attention until a solution was found to help them gain their freedom.

Part of my following the media around the film has included following Cindy Lowry – the inspiration for Drew Barrymore’s character – on Twitter. It’s rather cool, I think, to be able to interact with a principal person in a story as that story finds renewed publicity. One of the many articles she tweeted was from Alaska Daily News, ‘Big Miracle: The Real Story.’ An account from someone who was present for much of the story as it unfolded, it provides a contrast between what actually happened and the story rendered on the big screen.

What’s interesting to me ┬áin that article is what’s reported as happening just after the whales were discovered. Initial response was not as portrayed on screen. There was no immediate mad dash to save them. After all, natural mortality happens all the time. Nature is not a gentle place, and there are always casualties. All manner of creatures, marine and land alike, will die for a myriad of reasons. It’s just how things go. Add the extreme conditions in which these whales were located, and it’s not like rescuing a bag of puppies dumped by the side of the road. So the start of this was not ramped up, as seen on the big screen. Had those whales not been spotted purely by chance, their loss would likely have been both inevitable and never registered on any human radar.

And yet they did register, and before long, multiple players overcame long odds and fundamental philosophical differences to work towards the best possible outcome. In a cosmic sense, this was a unifying event in many ways, bringing together environmentalists and oilers, conflicting governments, the Inupiat and non-native people. And while not all of the whales could be saved, it also worked to shine a spotlight into a remote wilderness. Can that be bad? It is true that lots and LOTS of money was spent in the effort, but it seems that the awareness and creation of new bridges was worth it, from my armchair perspective. We cannot save all of the whales who get trapped under ice, but we can learn about ourselves and our priorities when we do try. And we learn more about the whales, which is never a bad thing in my mind.

I’ve picked up the re-issue of the book on which the movie was based, Big Miracle by Tom Rose (formerly titled Freeing the Whales) so am curious to read the more detailed account. If anyone has any other reading to recommend from this event, please let me know!

See the film if you can. Might not be in theaters for long, but the DVD will be worth watching as well once it comes out. I’m planning to add it to my own library.

1 Comment »

One Response to “Big Miracle”

  1. Nerissa Nields on 07 Mar 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    Great post, Amy! I want to see the movie now.

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