This We Believe

Separated by Differences, United by Beliefs

How One Movie Changed My Life

on February 24, 2014

At this time in the world, we are constantly being bombarded by information.  The internet has thousands of new articles every day.  The local news is on every morning and every night.  Social media is full of the passing of information. For me the loudest voice has come from film.

A lot of people watch a movie just for the outcome of a story; I watch a movie to get a glimpse of someone else’s world.  If at the end I have a new outlook on life, then I know it was worth seeing.  Blackfish was one movie that changed my life forever.

The documentary starts with what looks like an actual attack.  The trainer is alone in the water and a killer whale is circling below.  He swims closer and the trainer looks down at him.  Then the whale darts at his feet and pushes him out of the water, but its part of the performance.

The film transitions to interviews with former Sea World trainers.  Everyone has big smiles on their faces talking about their first times in the water and how much of a connection they had with their whales.  But then those smiles turn to tears when they’re asked about Dawn.  Dawn was the most recent victim of the killer whale named Tilikum.  She was their most experienced trainer.

It turns to police reports of a detective talking with a paramedic from Sea World.  The paramedic explains that they never found Dawn’s arm because Tilikum swallowed it.  At this point, I’m angry with the whale and I have so many questions going through my head.  Mainly, why would Tilikum do this?  The film makers had this same question and this becomes the center of their documentary.

They interview a whale researcher.  He explains that whales are brilliant creatures with a strong sense of family.  They are gentle giants that have never hurt a human in the wild, unless provoked.  Sea World took these emotional animals and stuck them in a pool, what would feel like a bath tub to us, for their entire lives and separated them from their families.  These whales are so frustrated that they take it out on each other and cause serious harm.  When that’s not enough, they take it out on their trainers.

After an hour and a half of feeling immense pity for these creatures I had a new mission in life.  I want to make the captivity of killer whales illegal.  Seeing videos of their depressed eyes and raked skin caused an emotional reaction that will never fade.  A reaction I would’ve never felt if I’d read an article on it.

Film forces you to watch what a day in the life of a subject feels like.  There are clear images right in front of you that can pull at your heart strings like no other form of information can.  This film changed my life and I believe film has the power to change anyone else’s.

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