Hot Docs: Dolphin Boy [2011, Dani Menkin, Yonatan Nir]

Toronto – Dolphin Boy is a heartwarming story about a young man’s road to recovery following a traumatic assault. When we first meet Morad, he is a heavily traumatized despondent soul who has withdrawn himself from the entire world. With possible institutionalization looming, the Morad’s father explores all avenues and decides on a one last option – dolphin assisted therapy. He abandons everything and takes his son to Dolphin Reef Eilat. The majority of the documentary takes place at there. Occasionally narrated by one of Morad’s doctors, Dolphin Boy is a documentary that makes you fully realize the consequences of violence that we as people inflict on each other on a daily basis. The suffering that both Morad and his family encountered is intense and the filmmakers did a tasteful job in documenting just how much one violent act can affect others.

Dolphin Boy doesn’t focus on the science or details of dolphin assisted therapy. Instead, the film relies on footage of the therapy in action to tell the story. Within the 72 minute time frame of the movie, we see a lot of footage of the dolphins and Morad swimming with the dolphins. The therapy looks rather fun and the unconditional love shown by the dolphins towards the patients are believe to heavily assist in the recovery process.

I found this documentary to be quite heart-warming. You build a connection with Morad the first time you see him, and as you see his father do everything humanly possible to try to bring his son back, you really start pulling for this family to recover. It’s also slightly refreshing to see a documentary bring some light to the plight of the victims. I suspect most filmmakers find the chance to delve into the psyche of attackers/killers too tempting, which results in a large amount of films/documentaries dedicated to exploring so called “method behind the madness” for any particular violent criminal. Dolphin Boy takes you to the other side, shows you how a family is literally torn apart by actions of someone else and if anything, will make you think twice the next time you think about punching someone in the face (even if it’s just a thought).

Dolphin Boy screening times:

Thu, May 5 9:00 PM @ Bloor Cinema
Sat, May 7 9:45 PM @ TIFF Bell Lightbox 3

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Posted on by Ricky in Hot Docs

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Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

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