Now showing: Big Miracle

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This above-average children’s drama from Universal manages to hit all the right notes as an inspirational story and provides a savvy, even cynical account of an international media event. In October 1988, as the Bush-Dukakis presidential campaign neared the finish line, three gray whales were discovered trapped beneath rapidly forming ice in the Beaufort Sea, north of Alaska, and as the national networks converged, the rescue effort pulled in such disparate actors as Greenpeace, Eskimo whalers, an oil company, the U.S. defense department, and icebreaking ships from the Soviet Union. Screenwriters Jack Amiel and Michael Begler adapted Tom Rose’s nonfiction book Freeing the Whales: How the Media Created the World’s Greatest Non-Event—the subtitle has been scrapped from the movie’s advertising, but the balance of sweetness and skepticism is what sets this apart. Ken Kwapis directed, making good use of John Krasinski, Drew Barrymore, Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, Dermot Mulroney, Kathy Baker, and Tim Blake Nelson. Trailer follows the jump.

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