News reporter John Krasinski calls on his ex, Greenpeace volunteer Drew Barrymore, to help his campaign to save a family of gray whales trapped under an Arctic ice sheet.
Big Miracle is based on the true story of an attempt to rescue three whales trapped by ice in Alaska, which became a big TV news story in the late ’80s. The era proves to be entirely apposite, as the whole film has the tone of those mawkish, naive TV movies that were such an ’80s speciality, with characters spouting every wobbly chinned feeling as they have it, even on national news. Ken Kwapis (He’s Just Not That Into You, The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Pants), a director not famed for subtlety of emotion, leans too much on environmental hectoring rather than rescue drama, but he does at least have leads of unrivalled charm. John Krasinski and Kristen Bell are cute as the reporter who broke the story and one seizing her moment to shine. Drew Barrymore’s Green Peace crusader is a chore, only rendered bearable by virtue of being Drew Barrymore.
This true-life tale takes some believing in the era of global warming (too much ice? Really?) but the sledgehammer emoting should let you know you're in a family drama.
Reviewed by Olly Richards