Dolphin Island (USA, 2021)

A teenager is determined to keep the life she is leaving in this family adventure.

Since the death of her parents, Annabel Coleridge has been living with her paternal grandfather Jonah on a Caribbean island where he works as a marine researcher much like Annabel’s parents. Things have been great for Annabel as she befriends Mitzy, a local dolphin. One day, Desaray Rolle, a social worker, introduces herself and lets Annabel and Jonah know that she will be handling their case to make sure Jonah is a good fit and good guardian. When Annabel meets con artist Mateo after a failed attempt at conning Jonah, Mateo sees the error of his ways and befriends Annabel.

Soon enough, Annabel learns that Mateo’s mother is none other than Desaray herself. Desaray soon sees why Jonah proves himself to be a good guardian for Annabel and offers her friendship as well. However, trouble is about to come in the form of Annabel’s rich maternal grandparents, Samuel and Sheryl Williams, who arrive and are determined to take Annabel away as they feel she is not fit to stay on the island. With the help of unscrupulous lawyer Robert Carbunkle, the Williams will do what it takes to get Annabel while Annabel will do what she can to stay with Jonah.

Filmed in between the remnants of Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic in the Bahamas, this is a warm-hearted family adventure all revolved around a teenager who is set in her ways but finds herself in a serious predicament. Annabel, played really well by Tyler Jade Nixon, finds comfort mostly with Mitzy, a local dolphin but soon finds a new friend in teen conman Mateo, played by Aaron Burrows. Mateo is quite the character as his con involves an attempt to pickpocket and somehow comes up with a plan B if he is caught. There is (thankfully) no sort of teen romance angle between but more of a friendship that goes on a level of respect.

Peter Woodward is fun to watch as Jonah, Annabel’s eccentric grandfather who loves doing what he does and takes care of Annabel, seeing her more as a combination of daughter and granddaughter. He’s there to continue doing what Annabel’s parents had wanted and loves doing it in the process. Meanwhile, we have David Raizor and Annette Lovrien Duncan as the nouveau riche maternal grandparents of Annabel’s who think they know what’s best for her, perhaps because of their status. Throughout the film, there are little nuances that show maybe Sheryl (Duncan’s character) is hesitant to the change because in a way, she deeply does care for Annabel enough to let her decide while Samuel (Raizor’s character) is hellbent and will go through any means necessary to get his way.

And that includes hiring the very slimy lawyer Robert Carbunkle, played very well by Bob Bledsoe. This guy is the definition of the creepy lawyer who will go through any means necessary to win his cases. He is clearly someone who has no moral code and even goes as far and bring up a very sensitive accusation for this genre of film. One cannot wait for this character to get his comeuppance and considering what we are dealing with here, it’s pretty predictable but still worth the wait.

Dolphin Island is a warmhearted tale about family with a beautiful locale, some really good performances, and all-around heart.

WFG RATING: B+

Entertainment Squad presents a Mr. Puppy Pictures production. Director: Mike Disa. Producer:  Shaked Berenson. Writers: Shaked Berenson, Mike Disa, and Rolfe Kamensky. Cinematography: Shaun Hart. Editing: Steven C. Miller.

Cast: Peter Woodward, Tyler Jade Nixon, Dionne Lea, Aaron Burrows, Bob Bledsoe, David Raizor, Annette Lovrien Duncan.

Go to the link below (“Watch Now” link) to find out where you can watch Dolphin Island

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