Dolphin Tale DVD Giveaway Contest


To celebrate the DVD release of Dolphin Tale, Grace Hill Media, a company that promotes quality entertainment for faith-based audiences, has graciously provided five DVDs to be given away to readers. Details are provided at the end of my article.

As a freelance writer who reviews family movies, I often have the opportunity to attend screenings in advance of a movie’s release.  Several months ago, I received a press kit for the film Dolphin Tale.  It included a book about the movie and a stuffed dolphin with a “prosthetic” tail, attached with velcro.  I gave them to my 12 year-old daughter, Rebecca, whom I had homeschooled for four years.  Delighted, she said, “I read about this in American Girl magazine.  They interviewed the girl in the movie.  Her name is Cozi Zuehlsdorff, and she’s homeschooled!”

Fortunately, I was able to bring Rebecca to the screening, and we both enjoyed the movie immensely, especially the effervescent Cozi.  She plays Hazel, the daughter of Dr. Clay Haskett (Harry Connick, Jr.).  Dr. Clay cares for the injured dolphin, Winter, at the Clearwater, Florida, marine hospital which he runs.  He and his dad (Kris Kristofferson, perfect in the role of a crusty old sailor) homeschool Hazel and live in a houseboat.  (Hazel’s mother died when she was very young.)

Since I am a former homeschooler, I am naturally concerned about how homeschooled children are portrayed in the media.  Unfortunately, they are often stereotyped as clumsy milquetoasts who never venture from their homes other than the occasional science fair and spelling bee.  Fortunately, Dolphin Tale breaks the mold with Hazel’s character.  She’s cute, vivacious, independent and smart.  Her classroom is the marine hospital and the ocean environment in which she works and plays.

Hazel befriends painfully shy Sawyer Nelson (Nathan Gamble), who ventures into the marine hospital to visit Winter.  The young boy had helped to rescue the dolphin and was concerned about her recovery.  Hazel convinces her dad to let Sawyer stay and help with Winter as she astutely observes that the otherwise depressed dolphin whistles happily when she hears Sawyer’s voice.

Sawyer, who is skipping summer school to work with Winter, slowly comes out of his shell under Hazel’s influence.  She teaches him the ropes of working in a marine hospital and keeps up a constant cheerful banter.  At one point, she declares, “I’m homeschooled.  That’s why I’m such a chatterbox.”

When Sawyer’s mother, Lorraine (Ashley Judd), discovers her son has been missing school, she insists that he return to the classroom.  He begs her to visit the marine hospital to see what he’s doing, and Lorraine sees the value in Sawyer’s non-traditional educational environment.  For the first time, her son is actually excited about learning and even offers to write an essay about the experience.  In a memorable scene which will have homeschoolers cheering, Lorraine pleads with Sawyer’s teacher to allow her son to receive credit for his work with Winter and the other marine animals.

The positive homeschool message portrayed in Dolphin Tale is not a glaring one but is seamlessly woven into the plot as if it were a perfectly normal way of life.  Of course, we homeschoolers already know that.

Dolphin Tale is released on DVD and Blue-ray on Tuesday, December 20th.  The film is rated PG for mild thematic elements and can be seen in 3-D or traditional format.

Order Dolphin Tale and support with your purchase

* readers have an opportunity to win one of 5 free copies of the Dolphin Tale DVD. Simply leave a comment on this article (in the comments section only, not the Facebook section), and you will be entered in the contest. Remember, you must first log in or register as a new user in order to leave a comment. Deadline for entering is Tuesday, December 20th at midnight Pacific Standard Time. Winners will be notified through their registered email addresses, and the names be posted in the comment section below on Thursday, December 22nd. Be sure to check back in case the email didn’t get through your spam filter. If winners do not respond with a mailing address by December 26th, then a new winner will be selected.

Copyright 2011 Peggy Bowes 


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  1. Maria Wachholz on

    My daughters are very excited about seeing this movie. Thanks for the review! And Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!

  2. Stephanie Curtice on

    My kiddos have been wanting to see this movie! Exciting that it sheds a positive view on homeschooling!

  3. Michelle Giannetta on

    I wanted to see this, but couldn’t find a child to go. Glad it will be out on DVD for the holidays. The reveiw was wonderful, and made me want to see it even more.

  4. We saw the preview for this one, but missed it in theaters. My 5 year old who is our resident self proclaimed animal lover (his middle name is Francis, after St. Francis of Assisi) is really excited to see it.

  5. I saw this movie with my son, daughter, and a friend and we all loved it! I really liked the positive message the story promotes; acceptance of those who have disabilities and the fact that their disbilities can teach us all many lessons. My second grade class took an interest and we even wrote letters to Winter the dolphin.I would love to have a copy to show them.

  6. I soooo wanted to see this when it was in the theater…just didn’t have the time. Would love to win a copy!! Thanks so much for the chance!

  7. I would love to win this for our family — we missed it in the theater and my daughter has been talking about it ever since!!

  8. This was a great family film, brought me to tears several times but mostly just heartwarming and whimsical in a way

  9. my 6 year old really wanted to see this and it didn’t happen as we don’t get out to the movies much with two more younger sisters in tow. i didn’t even know about the role of homeschooling. wonderful addition as we contemplate making that move!

  10. Amanda Martin on

    oooooh I hope I win this, the kids so want to see it, and I didn’t know it had a home schooler in it 🙂 awesome!

  11. Michelle Blount on

    What to my wonderous eyes should appear but a great family movie for all to cheer! May my 6 & 4 yr old be so lucky this year!

  12. Monica Beagle on

    I always am cautious when it comes to my children and what they see. Running to the theater to see the newest, most popular movies many times proves to be against what we are trying to teach our children as Catholics! I am excited to see this one with my whole family! Thanks!

  13. I would love to watch this movie with my daughter, so many shows nowadays we can’t watch together because of one thing or another. A good family movie is definitely on the tops of our list!

  14. Darlene Hisel on

    I loved this movie and cannot wait to get it for my family. A wonderful movie for all ages. So many lessons on life in this movie.

  15. Thank you for posting your take on Dolphin Tale–never thought about the homeschooling aspect!!! This was the first movie our family of six attended in over 2 years. It was inspiring seeing Hazel’s confidence and acceptance of others. What we liked seeing was how Sawyer transformed in front of our eyes. Great movie! God Bless! The Hall’s

  16. I am so excited for this Giveaway! My 7 year old daughter and I went to see this movie and we absolutely LOVEd it!! We are in our first year of homeschooling at it is great to see such a wonderful character in a Hazel! My daughter is a chatter box too so we defiantly fell in love with her character and the positive message in this story!

  17. Merry Christmas! Please forgive me for posting the contest winners so late! We moved into a new house this week, so my life was especially crazy. The winners are listed below and should be receiving their notification email shortly. If you don’t see it, check your spam folder or send your mailing address to me at Thank you for participating and look for more contests in the future!

    Congratulations to:
    Jennifer G. Miller
    Diane Vint
    Mary Katherine
    Cheryl W

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