The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer



Scary and confusing tale of a dolphin following his dream.
  • Review Date: March 7, 2012
  • Rated: PG
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2010
  • Running Time: 88 minutes

What parents need to know

Educational value

Intended to entertain, not educate.

Positive messages

As the voice of the sea says, "Never let fears stand in the way of your dreams." But the film is so poorly constructed, this message doesn't come through clearly.

Positive role models

Daniel Alexander Dolphin is ostracized by his peers for daring to leave his dolphin pod to pursue his calling, and he leaves anyway, facing many difficulties along the way, but he is not deterred.

Violence & scariness

The evil fish -- Lucius -- is scary and chases Daniel ruthlessly. In fact, most of the fish, sharks, dolphins, manta rays, and whales, will make kids uncomfortable with their sheer ugliness: razor-sharp teeth, terrifying voices, angular movements.

Sexy stuff
Not applicable

Early in the film, a baby dolphin makes "fart bubbles," says they are his friends and that sometimes they help him to breathe, and then he swallows the bubbles. Later, Daniel claims a place he is visiting smells like "jellyfish poop."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this atrocious CGI animated story of a young dolphin called by the sea to pursue his dreams should be avoided at all costs. For younger viewers, the "bad fish" chasing after the hero fish will surely give them nightmares with sharp pointed teeth and a mean demeanor. For children in general, the bizarre fart jokes early in the film may be immature even for them. For parents, the unpleasant characters, the trite exploration of "a hero's journey to make his dream come true," and the sub-par animation will leave them at best, bored, and at worst, angry that their kid's time was wasted watching this.

What's the story?

Daniel Alexander Dolphin (Robbie Daymond) lives in a pod where the other dolphins have stopped dreaming, opting instead to do nothing but fish. But Daniel wants to surf, so when he hears the call from the Voice of the Sea, he leaves the dolphin pod in pursuit of the sun to find his true calling in life. Along the way, he finds a sidekick named Carl (also Daymond), and together, they encounter dangerous predators and must elude and fight them before realizing their dream and purpose in the sea.

Is it any good?



One would hope that the book upon which this is based is much better, and while sub-par animation would get a pass if the story made up for it, it doesn't. There are plenty of children's films about characters pursuing their dreams that handle this subject matter in ways that are more entertaining and don't feature completely bizarre and nonsensical "jokes" of baby dolphins swallowing their own fart bubbles. If the characters aren't annoying (i.e. Daniel's sidekick Carl), they look and act in ways that will horrify most children under the age of 8. This film will likely confuse, anger, and annoy both parents and children.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about dreams. Why is it important to never stop believing in your dreams? Is there ever a time when you should reevaluate your dreams? What are your dreams?

  • What are the many obstacles that stand in the way of Daniel as he pursues his dream? What other hero stories can you think of? What are the similarities and differences in those stories to Daniel's?

  • How can you tell that a movie is bad? Is it a gut reaction or are there specific aspects that you can calculate?

Movie details

DVD release date:December 7, 2010
Cast:Michael Ferreri, Robbie Daymond
Director:Eduardo Schuldt
Studio:Twentieth Century Fox
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Adventures, Ocean creatures
Run time:88 minutes
MPAA rating:PG
MPAA explanation:some mild scary action and brief rude humor

This review of The Dolphin: Story of a Dreamer was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

  • Heartwarming tale is sweet, inspiring for kids and tweens.
  • Excellent, gorgeous drama with uplifting messages.
  • Stunning, loving documentary; some intense peril.
  • Sweet father-son tale has some very scary moments.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Parent Written bythe educational tree August 29, 2012

Best Movie Ever!

I think that this movie was very educational. It's story line was very well planned and thought out, and all the actors deserve a Oscar. Very good movie!
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 12 and 16 year old Written byK_Green May 27, 2014

Awesome Messages!!!

This movie is a great one to watch as a family! It is christian based and really sends the message that you should follow your dreams no matter who you are. It also hints at the fact that it doesn't matter if you are different in any way, you can still follow your dreams and have them come true if you work at it. It does have a character that could be kind of scary but I know of several children's movies and shows that have the same type of characters, just look at Snow White or the Lion King for example. It also has a bit of a joking part about farts but Shrek has much much more than this movie as far as things like that go. I would watch it again and would recommend it for any child that likes cartoons and for parents who want to make sure their kids are getting the right message!!
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 12 years old August 24, 2012

Messages.... :)

Well, the message is follow your dreams! :) My sister loves this movie.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Star Wars Guide