“It Is No Free Willy, But It Still Has Whales”
“With Good Acting And Heartwarming Story, Big Miracle Is A Film That Enlightens Upon An Incident Many People Would Not Know Off :D”
“Corny, But Effective Heartwarming Family Drama: Save The Whales!”
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
- New York Times
"Big Miracle" gets off to a shaky start, but once revved up, it becomes an involving work-against-the-clock-and-the-odds action movie.
Rachel Saltz - New York Times
Given the abundance of one-dimensional human portrayals, it becomes apparent that a documentary on the subject might have been more powerful.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
Cold War-era bonding over whales? It would sound utterly absurd if it weren't based on fact. And that's part of what makes this movie fun for adults.
Stephanie Merry - Washington Post
It needs only to entertain. And that it does thoroughly, leaving us both charmed and enriched without feeling very preached at. Praise be.
Janice Page - Boston Globe
While rooting for the marine mammals (and wishing for more footage of them-and even of their animatronic incarnations), your heart will also go out to the cast, stuck even more pitiably in syrupy manufactured crises.
Melissa Anderson - Village Voice
The genuinely sweet nature of this sometimes clunky movie is mixed with a little sass, and wins you over.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
If you think it's absolutely not your kind of thing, you might be surprised.
Glenn Kenny - MSN Movies
Keeps the film from getting too cluttered by with performances that give us an instant connection to the humans literally trying to save the whales.
Nell Minow - Chicago Sun-Times
"Big Miracle" tells its sort-of-true version of events in a democratic and humane fashion, by way of a rangy, lively group of competing interests who actually do on occasion act like real people.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
"Big Miracle" shouldn't really work, but it does.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
It is a whale of a comic tale, if also one overly crowded with characters and incidents.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
Big Miracle is not one of those whale tales that leaves the audience blubbering, but it's open to the allure of the imposing creatures, which resemble long boulders that have come to life.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
Michael Rechtshaffen - Hollywood Reporter
Like a whale itself, "Big Miracle" is large and unwieldy -- but it also has its moments of splendor.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
There may not be a second of say, Whale Rider's lyricism (that's still the best whale movie out there), but this energetic family movie is less insipid than it looks.
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
"Big Miracle" is quite the whale of a tale. Miraculous? Maybe. Predictable? Mostly. Delightful? Absolutely.
Justin Craig - FoxNews.com
A heavy-handed script and an obnoxious main character help sink this environmental drama.
John Hanlon - Big Hollywood
There are more subtle movies out there, but few more uplifting.
James Luxford - The National
Big Miracle is invested with solid craftsmanship and a nuanced view of how idealism, pragmatism, and politics intersect.
Mark Pfeiffer - Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
This is, well, huge.
Linda Cook - Quad City Times (Davenport, IA)
Political cynicism, media opportunism, dogmatic native traditions, corporate greed and environmentalist stubbornness are each, in turn, dashed against this sunny confection.
funny, tear jerking, smart, and not a little subversive with a few well-place jabs at unexpectedly deserving parties as well as a few kudos in a few surprising places
Andrea Chase - Killer Movie Reviews
Genial feelgood story inspired by a true story that made headlines in 1988.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Big Miracle, beyond its bland, nondescript title, delivers exactly what the coming attraction promised, an enjoyable save-the-whales" tale.
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
The makers attempt to coat their fascinatingly bitter pill with saccharine. They are, however, only partially successful.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
- Empire Magazine
[S]urprisingly pleasant... Feel-good hokum is achieved with a minimum of groans induced thanks to director Ken Kwapis' light touch...
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
Big Miracle has some decent special effects and a young boy will help it to feel more relevant to children.
Graham Young - Birmingham Mail
Ponderously sincere but it does tell a good story.
- This is London
Krasinski and Barrymore are very likable characters with screen charisma. They seem at ease having previously worked with Kwapis. The movie's other chief strengths are the excellent casting choices, the cinematography and the lifelike animatronic puppets.
Keith Cohen - Entertainment Spectrum
It is a laborious, sentimental drama featuring a self-parodic performance from Drew Barrymore, based on a TV news event that briefly gripped the US in 1988.
Inspiring as any family-centric film can be, without being too insipid and manipulative.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
A grounding in the real-life story makes this film much less sentimental than it looks.
Rich Cline - Shadows on the Wall
The whales are so appealing, and the fight to free them from their ice prison so excitingly feel-good, that all cynicism is put aside, making this very decent family entertainment.
David Aldridge - Radio Times
Much better than the poster or trailer suggests.
Martyn Conterio - Little White Lies
It's a worthy story, straightly told.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
Well made and superbly acted by a strong ensemble cast, this is an enjoyable, warmly written drama that resists the temptation to overdose on sentimentality and delivers a strong message.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Gripping, funny and uplifting with some lively characters...
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
If it wasn't based on a true story it would be laughable, but since it is, it is enjoyable.
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
The simplistic script draws broad strokes not making anyone a clear villain, assuring that everyone can rest easy knowing that sometimes even evil oil barons (Ted Danson) are willing to free Willy.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
By-the-book dialogue and lame performances do the film no favours but, hey, worse things happen at sea.
Derek Adams - Time Out
May not be a miracle, let alone a big one, but it is a genuine delight.
Michael Dequina - TheMovieReport.com
When I was twelve, I remember thinking, hoping and praying for the trapped whales. 'Big Miracle' does just enough to bring those feelings back.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
The sledgehammer emoting should let you know you're in a family drama.
Olly Richards - Empire Magazine
Inspiring, real and heartwarming.
Pete Hammond - Boxoffice Magazine
If you're looking for a passable film to take the kids to this weekend, Miracle offers a smart enough take on its feel-good plot to keep adult viewers tuned in.
Wins most of us over by being nice about 90% of the time.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
"You're not as easy to hate as I thought!" Barrymore says to Danson. Those initially resistant to Big Miracle may reach the same conclusion.
Neil Smith - Total Film
With its big heart and congenial cast, this family-friendly eco-drama is an easy movie to like.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Family-friendly, fee-good, inspirational story - and watch the closing credits for a glimpse of young Sarah Palin as an Anchorage sportscaster.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
"Big Miracle" might be subtitled, "How Hollywood Turned a Real Story Into Bogus Fiction."
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
Big Miracle is what Free Willy would be if everybody in the latter movie had cynical motivations.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
Barrymore, in full granola mode with righteous fire in her eyes, has seldom been so appealing onscreen.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
This is a movie that didn't grab me at first, but it pummeled me into enjoying it by the end.
Alonso Duralde - What the Flick?!
Big Miracle manages to be funny, emotional, and entertaining without being manipulative. It's a good family film that will tug at the hearts of the audience.
Wilson Morales - BlackFilm.com
The biggest miracle is that director Ken Kwapis and screenwriters Jack Amiel and Michael Beger did not turn this beautiful, inspirational nearly-true story into an over- sentimentalized farce.
Jeanne Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
It's heartwarming and inspiring to see human ingenuity rise up to overcome the inordinate number of obstacles that threaten the operation.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
A decent family-friendly film for animal lovers that's reminiscent of Warner Bros' surprise box office hit of 2011, Dolphin Tale.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
The film comprises innumerable expository scenes, leavened with uninspired comic relief.
Andy Klein - Christian Science Monitor
Big Miracle is all formula, but with just enough savvy to temper the gentle-spiritedness and qualify it as that rare family film with an emotional manipulativeness that doesn't leave a sick slick in the mouth.
Kimberley Jones - Austin Chronicle
The title pretty much gives away the ending, as if there was any doubt.
Todd Jorgenson - Cinemalogue.com
Animal-rescue tale has one death but otherwise OK for kids.
Sandie Angulo Chen - Common Sense Media
A story of big whales and big media
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
For one great big Warm Fuzzy, it's an extremely watchable movie. The cast, led by John Krasinski and Drew Barrymore, are enjoyable to hang out with.
Christopher Lloyd - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
There's something refreshing about a kids' movie that manages to get through its entire length without a poop joke.
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Ends up feeling like some kind of saccharine paean to the virtues of self-interest, a Hallmark special scripted by Ayn Rand
Thomas Leupp - Hollywood.com
Yes. The plight of the whales and the world's reaction is a real story. The movie, however, doesn't feel authentic. But take a hanky just in case. Authentic or not, Big Miracle isn't bad.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
It's not quite a miracle, but it is impressive how much this respects the intelligence of its young viewers.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
The inherently compelling premise is, in the film's early stages, heightened by the efforts of an impressively diverse roster of performers...
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
Perhaps the title sets an expectation Ken Kwapis’ movie can’t quite deliver.
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
With such a large and likable cast, the whales are a relatively small part of the movie. But the wonder of "Big Miracle" is that their fate can make a cold-hearted audience blubber.
Joe Williams - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Any goodwill it boasts is terminally suppressed, buried beneath a layer of bulls--- as thick as blubber.
R. Kurt Osenlund - Slant Magazine
The movie balances its sentimental side with a healthy dose of cynicism.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
A real life-based drama that's pleasantly warm but overly busy and short on emotional oomph.
John Hazelton - Screen International
Far better and far more adult than it really has any right to be.
Nathan Rabin - AV Club
There's something admirable about the attempt to incorporate so many diverse beliefs, but Big Miracle does so to the point of sacrificing narrative cohesion.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
Too naive for the tricky grown-up issues it tackles, but not smart or sweet enough to get away with it.
Katey Rich - CinemaBlend.com
It's a surprisingly layered film that is at its best when it steps out of its black-and-white main narrative and explores the gray areas of what happens when competing interests get involved for a good cause (Parental Review also available)
Teddy Durgin - Screen It!
...a bit of a miracle itself, with its complicated story told with wit, passion, and excitement. It's a family film that ought to please all ages.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
One of those formulaic, bare-minimum efforts that confuses meaning well for being worthwhile.
Whale fans will blubber, but uneven Miracle flounders in its hunt for narrative focus.
Matt Stevens - E! Online
Manipulative in the extreme but surprisingly enjoyable nonetheless...It's a minor miracle that 'Big Miracle' is as pleasant as it is.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
Instead of this being a story of a bunch of lovely people doing a lovely thing, it's rather the story of average people who become much better people as a result of doing a lovely thing, even though some start out doing it for less than noble reasons.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
It's amazing a movie hasn't been made about these Reagan-era events before now. But the enjoyable "Big Miracle" offers perspective, balancing sentiment with healthy skepticism about human motivations.
Tom Keogh - Seattle Times
The longer Big Miracle goes on, the more it settles for an amiable communitarianism chased down by a PG group-hug finale.
Ella Taylor - NPR
...what really recommends it, besides the obvious 'Save the Whales' appeal, is a fascinating central story about disparate groups...all joining forces for good.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
"Big Miracle," perhaps inadvertently ... delivers a message custom-made for our times: That somewhere between avarice and ideology there's a path people can walk together to save the planet.
Jackie Loohauis - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
pretty much resembles a message-y family-friendly movie about saving some whales, which obviously isn't the worst thing in the world
Jesse Hassenger - Filmcritic.com
The stereotypes are bruising, built into a laborious script that piles on the setbacks, stretching the story out with a routine of disaster every 10 minutes, making any new design of whale rescue a predictable failure.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
A thematically rich drama about the efforts to save three trapped whales that speaks volumes about cross-cultural misunderstandings, media circuses, and the good that can rise to surface when opposing groups work together.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
It's not as inspiring or heartwarming as it should be, and footage during the credits suggest it would have made a better documentary.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Corny but more effective than a poster pleading 'Save the whales!'
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
The whales at the center of the story ... get lost amid all the criss-crossing love stories, political wheeler-dealing and well-intentioned but inadequate rescue missions.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
Things go wrong then right then wrong again, with... too many convenient romances, trumped-up crises and reversals of conscience to clear up while those poor whales suffer. Big Miracle isn't an entirely bad movie but a wholly misguided one.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
Fictional treatment of the 1988 effort to rescue three whales trapped under Alaskan ice features a wide-ranging cast of characters and offers solid family entertainment.
Kevin Lally - Film Journal International
Formulaic and predictable in the way most Hollywood versions of inspirational true tales are, Big Miracle benefits from the likeable personalities of its characters and the actors who play them, Krasinksi and Barrymore.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
Miracle eschews black and white - even the Inupiat have ulterior motives - for shades of grey.
Peter Keough - Boston Phoenix