Great intentions and solid acting keep this uplifting but predictable film from getting lost at sea. Blue Miracle is one of those stories that remains watchable even if you know from the start exactly how it's going to end.
That's thanks to a compelling true story about an orphanage about to go under and a confident central performance by Jimmy Gonzales, whose own life story apparently inspired him in the role. It's also thanks to a cast of engaging kids and a credibly gruff and wind-worn Dennis Quaid. And it's thanks to an upbeat hip-hop soundtrack and an absolutely gorgeous setting, beautifully filmed in blue tones on land, sea, and in sweeping aerial shots.
The film also works even despite noticeable shortcomings. It's questionable to have native Spanish-speaking actors talking English to each other in a Mexican setting. The improbable choice, unexplained and not made more authentic by Spanish words and expressions thrown in, could turn off some audiences. Many of the film's dialogues also feel overly scripted, like when the boys are questioning Wade about his own son, or when an old friend is trying to tempt Omar back into high-paying crime.
Omar has recurring nightmares involving water that stem from his own experience as a child but also seem to perhaps too obviously symbolize his feeling adrift, sinking low, drowning in debt, watching hopes swirl down the drain. Still, the film is chock full of positive messages that are relatable for the whole family.
Read the full review at Common Sense Media.