As much as it grates, it still manages to warm the cockles.
Derek Adams, Time Out, 2011-10-11
That it manages to be not insufferable while still being so predictable is a small tribute to its cast and crew.
Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger, 2011-09-23
Most of the family films churned out today are so junky it's almost a shock to find one in which the animals never spout sassy one-liners, or show off their hilarious hip-hop moves.
Elizabeth Weitzman, New York Daily News, 2011-09-23
Effective as the movie is, it nevertheless left me slightly put off.
Kyle Smith, New York Post, 2011-09-23
A heartwarmingly hokey and accessible production.
Sean O'Connell, Washington Post, 2011-09-23
Dolphin Tale is a reasonably well-made and likable story about the courageous efforts of a small, determined band of people who come to the rescue of a badly injured sea creature.
Bruce Demara, Toronto Star, 2011-09-23
This is not only kid-friendly fare, but a lovely family movie.
Claudia Puig, USA Today, 2011-09-22
Gamble's rapport with his finned costar is so touching that the movie works anyway.
Andrea Gronvall, Chicago Reader, 2011-09-22
It gives young audiences credit for having patience and imagination, and rewards them with an engaging narrative.
Peter Hartlaub, San Francisco Chronicle, 2011-09-22
The cast is delightful, the story corny without being cloyingly high-fructose, the direction first-rate.
Colin Covert, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2011-09-22
A lively, winning family movie starring the very sea mammal at the center of a true story that inspired this film.
Tom Keogh, Seattle Times, 2011-09-22
It may not be a great movie, but it is an exceptionally touching one.
Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer, 2011-09-22
The result is an excellent family film - maybe not up to 1996's "Fly Away Home'' in the kid-helps-wildlife genre but eye-opening and heartwarming and sensibility-expanding all the same.
Ty Burr, Boston Globe, 2011-09-22
It's rudimentary and even a little clumsy in its filmmaking technique (not a small matter), but there's some narrative ambition, at least...
Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune, 2011-09-22
Kids are going to eat this up. Given what a dismal year it's been for the family film, it's likely their parents will, too.
Mary F. Pols, TIME Magazine, 2011-09-22
Plenty of ambition. But the dialogue can be tin-eared, and the comedy has a cater- to-kids quality that sells youngsters short.
Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post, 2011-09-23
Instead of steering toward deep and troubled waters, "Dolphin Tale" jumps through hoops to engage a young audience.
Joe Williams, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 2011-09-23
A potentially appealing story about a rescued disabled dolphin gets smothered with inspirational family values guff.
Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail, 2011-09-23
Accompanying grown-ups or older siblings will have to choke down a sizable dose of schmaltz with their fish milkshakes.
Neil Genzlinger, New York Times, 2011-09-22
Freeman is clearly enjoying himself, but his mega-watt presence and some unnecessary 3D are just about the only things separating Dolphin Tale from an Animal Planet original movie.
Nathan Rabin, AV Club, 2011-09-22