The true story of a young killer whale, an orca nicknamed Luna, who makes friends with people after he gets separated from his family on the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. As rambunctious and surprising as a visitor from another planet, Luna endears himself to humans with his determination to make contact, which leads to laughter, conflict and unexpected consequences.
User Reviews: "There’s more there than most of my guests." Hotel Owner Cameron Forbes
I doubt if there is a more authentic and endearing documentary in recent memory than The Whale, the story of young killer whale Luna, separated in 2003 from his pod and spending six years befriending the folks who live in the Nootka Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
The tension that makes this film more like a drama than a documentary is the dilemma of what to do with this unusually friendly Orca, which experts believe will not end up well because of its affection for humans. Or its need for community, judging from its almost constant desire to be seen, heard, and touched. Watching Luna go nose to nose with humans, letting them stroke its tongue, and virtually singing to them is to understand why even a fish and wildlife pro could violate his own division’s ban on interaction.
The opposing forces seem to arise naturally: those, especially natives, who want nature to take its course and those who foresee doom for the sea creature unless means such as giving him to a sea-world-type park are immediately taken. Intellectually the latter, especially the marine biologists, seem to have the better argument, but the former are powerful when they argue the whale should be allowed to do what it wants.
Although most involved are powerless to effect the right solution, the occurrence of communication between humans and animal is carefully noted, an extraordinary example of a bond that seems to be built on both sides’ need to understand and communicate with the other.
If you see the film, I dare you to deny that you weren’t moved by Luna’s playing with humans and uncertain about how to solve his fate. For sure you will not remain unmoved.
Praise to Ryan Reynolds as the perfect narrator not channeling Morgan Freeman. Most honors should go to filmmakers Suzanne Chisolm and Michael Parfit, who stayed with Luna through it all. Their devotion and love make this one of the most memorable documentaries ever.