Becca, Adam and their 5-year-old daughter Acie are a perfect family until a tragic accident during a 4th of July celebration kills their father. Struggling with grief, Becky decides she ... See full summary »
Michael Aaron Carico
October, 1988. Adam Carlson, a reporter for a local Anchorage television station, is currently in Barrow doing a series of pieces on the "local cultural color" of northern Alaska. While out on the sea ice filming a less than promising piece, he spots off in the distance what ends up being three California gray whales - a mother, father and son - who are literally imprisoned by ice which has surrounded them in the earlier than usual onset of winter. They are looking worse for wear as they have been ramming the ice surface to maintain a hole in the ice to be able to breathe and thus survive. The professional and cultural assessment he receives is that the whales, in their current situation, cannot survive for more than a few days, with the ice fives miles in distance to the open ocean with a vertical ice shelf that has developed midway. Adam's piece on the whales not only gets played on his station, but is picked up by news services throughout the States, including the national ...Written by
Much of the footage for the film was shot in and around Anchorage, Alaska. The ice scenes were filmed at Beluga Point south of Anchorage, and several scenes which in the film took place in California were actually shot on location in the Turnagain neighborhood in west Anchorage: plants native to Southern California were used to dress the houses in those scenes. Real Alaska National Guardsmen were used to play the Guardsmen in the film. See more »
Throughout the film, nobody's breath appears when they are outdoors, especially given the frigid temperatures that they were reporting. See more »
[Doing a news report on the ice]
Cut! God, my feet are numb. These boots are useless.
[motions to Nathan]
Hey kid, you still got that cardboard?
I sold it to the other guy. But I can still get more! It's forty now, though.
Shipping and handling.
...Shipping and handling?
It's not my first rodeo, either.
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At the very end of the credits, when the Working Title logo appears, we hear the songs of the whales. See more »
This is a slow movie. Prepare to watch people standing around a hole in the ice. If you think gray whales are a waste of time, you won't be moved. On the other hand, if you can pull for a family of marine mammals in danger of freezing to death, you will probably find satisfaction in this movie's numerous charms. You'll enjoy the dignity given to the Inuit people, environmentalists, oil executives, Soviets, journalists, and even Republicans(!) who collaborate in dramatic efforts to save the trapped whales. You'll appreciate the care taken with a late 80's period piece, down to the silk blouses, big glasses, hair, and Peter Jennings. You may even be moved by the warm and unguarded performances of Drew Berrymore, John Kasinksi, and others.
It's possible you may have your heart enlarged by the uncommon efforts of truly diverse people on behalf of beautiful and vulnerable earthlings like the grays. There is an unabashed love for both the whales and the humans portrayed in this movie, whose lives and futures are at stake in a variety of ways. Some may regard this affection as sentimentality, but the sense of humor sustained throughout the film argues against this. Somehow I think the worst-ever portrayal of Ronald Reagan was hardly unintentional. This director definitely has it in for for Minnesotans, too.
My ten and thirteen year-old sons were engrossed by this true story brought to the screen and gave it two thumbs up. My wife and I enjoyed being unembarrassed in their presence throughout.
Simply as an introduction to Barrow, Alaska, the movie is totally worthwhile.
My biggest complaint: Drew Barrymore's lips should be blue when scuba diving in frigid Artic waters.
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