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Big Miracle

HD   PG Closed Captioning

Ken Kwapis

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About the Movie

Drew Barrymore and John Krasinski star in this incredible rescue adventure – the amazing true story that inspired the world and captured the hearts of millions. When a family of whales is trapped by rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle, a small-town reporter (Krasinski) and an animal-loving volunteer (Barrymore) rally an unlikely coalition of Alaskan natives, oil tycoons and the Russian and American military to set aside their differences and free the whales before it’s too late. Kristen Bell, Dermot Mulroney and Ted Danson costar in this charming feel-good movie that the whole family can enjoy!

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 99
  • Fresh: 73
  • Rotten: 26
  • Average Rating: 6.2/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: "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, Feb 2, 2012

Fresh: 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, Feb 2, 2012

Rotten: 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, Feb 2, 2012

Fresh: 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, Feb 2, 2012

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

False advertising

Saying that this movie is based on a true story is misleading. Very loosely inspired by true events might be more honest. About the only thing that is real in this film is that there were indeed three trapped whales off the arctic coast of Alaska in 1988. But that is about the end of the similarities. Most of the rest is politically inspired drivel. Even the real moments depicted in this film are taken out of context. Big clue: they changed all the names so they could have the characters do and say whatever they wanted instead of do and say what actually happened. (Even the names of the whales were changed to be cuter.) If you are interested in what actually occurred the Anchorage Daily News has a good article online with the list of events. The real purpose for this film seems to be to create a vehicle for the insipid Drew Barrymore to emote about whales. Her performance actually made me want to club a baby seal, and I am an environmentalist. Oh and by the way, the idea that the whales were trapped there by a net around the baby's tail is entirely made up. Biologists believe that the whales went to far east and got trapped, which happens. No self righteous Greenpeace volunteers swam with the whales and found a net. This is a movie made by morons, for morons.


On the outside, "Big Miracle" may seem like just another predictable PG-rated drama about animal awareness, but it's actually much more satisfying than you might think. With a smart script, endearing characters and even some witty humor, it manages to be an entertaining feel-good movie without ever being too clichéd or sentimental. Based on a true story from 1988, the flick follows a small town news reporter (John Krasinski) and an animal-loving volunteer (Drew Barrymore) as they band together with Alaskan natives, oil tycoons and the American and Russian military to save a family of gray whales trapped by a patch of rapidly forming ice in the Arctic Circle. Although the acting and dialogue can be a bit corny at times, just about everything else makes up for those slightly distracting issues. Krasinski and Barrymore share great on-screen chemistry together as the film's lead characters. They're likable and sympathetic enough for you to care about their plight, and their romantic side story never gets in the way of the main narrative. Costars Kristen Bell, Ted Danson and Rob Riggle, among others, make for a particularly memorable supporting cast. As for the plot itself, I was really impressed how it blended the complexities of realpolitik with the sensitivities of animal rescue. From its beautiful cinematography to its charming score, "Big Miracle" is a delightful little movie with an inspirational message and uplifting spirit. If you wanna watch a film that's both amusing and charming, give this one a rent.

A wonderful true story...

I took my kids to see this film and while they didn't understand all the dynamics that made the film interesting, the scene when Barrymore's character dives under the ice was captivating for them. It was wonderful on the big screen… my two year old stared in awe. There were several scenes like that, including the opening scene with the Inupiat whale hunters. Can't wait to own this one.