Penguin Bloom, based on a true story, follows the story of the Bloom family after a terrible accident that happened in Thailand. During this trip, Sam, mother of three, falls from a tower and breaks her back, losing all feeling in her lower body. Following this accident, Sam tries to get her life together and Noah, her son who convinced her to follow him up to the tower, tries to overcome the guilt he feels of leading his mother to that fateful spot. One year later, Noah finds a magpie and the family takes care of her and gives her the name Penguin. The rest of the movie follows the family’s road to recovery.
Sam Bloom is the protagonist of our story and we see that she was once an adventurous surfer who loved to surf and to be active. During a trip to Thailand Sam falls and becomes paralyzed from the waist down. We see her struggle as she falls into a depressed state from her injury and being deprived of her independence. Through the film we see her try to grow and find how she can continue to live her life even though she can’t use her life. Noah Bloom is Sam’s eldest son and since his mother’s injury, he believes he is the one responsible and becomes somber for most of the film. He is the one who finds the bird they name Penguin which helps bond the family after the accident.
Coming into this film I had no idea what to expect but honestly this was a slow film. Being based on a true story is usually a good sign as I will generally like that type of film but though I wanted to like it I found this film boring. Now to be fair I think the actors did a good job with what they were given and had some emotional moments during their performances my problem lies with how the characters are written. The way the story is presented I felt it had missed potential as I think more time could have been devoted towards Sam learning how to kayak and how Sam learns to find happiness in her new life which I feel wasn’t explored to the full extent it could have been. The relationship between Sam and the injured magpie Penguin is also a strong point of the movie as we see they help each other get stronger and develop a strong bond. The biggest problem of the film is the slow pace as it feels as nothing really happens and it’s mostly just sitting in the house with a few moments of actual story development.
All in all, while this may not be the best drama we have reviewed if you are looking for something new on Netflix, the good acting and true story elements might be enough to check this one out.
Before I get into the guts of Penguin Bloom, I want to make one thing perfectly clear. The story behind this movie was great, and I really felt this had a lot of potential. It seemed like a story I would read about, and I thought this movie was going to be emotional and grab your attention. But it didn’t. It was emotional, no disagreement there, but it wasn’t captivating for more than 15% of the entire movie. In my opinion, they wrote the movie poorly in two facets.
One the plot felt backward. I would have to read the entire story from the Bloom family’s point of view, but I really think it would have made an awesome movie to cover more of the back quarter. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’m going to be very broad, but the beginning takes too long. The ending was really captivating and it improves the movie as a whole, but it felt rushed. It was only an hour and a half, so either a longer movie or a shorter first half would have been much appreciated.
The second issue that I had was the characters. I love “Based on true story” movies because you typically go from an all-time low to a very high point. The story is typically rooted in the growth of the characters, and this does that decently. Our characters do grow throughout, but we never really know our characters. Such limited details are given about these wonderful people that it becomes very difficult to become attached and feel those same highs and lows that make these movies so well-liked. The other thing is we see a handful of side characters that seem important or that could have been great for the movie, but we never get that development or screen time for them to have any kind of impact.
I did really enjoy a few characters, but it would have been awesome to learn more about their backstories, main and side characters alike. The story behind this movie looks fantastic, compelling, and one that would have made a fantastic movie. For that reason alone, I hope we one day get a book, if there’s already one let me know in the comments, but this movie just didn’t cut it for me.
Penguin Bloom wasn’t the most interesting movie I have watched lately. The movie explores the true story of Sam Bloom, but the pacing of the movie felt slow. It was quite painful trying to sit through the movie. An aspect that could have saved the movie was if the characters were likeable to some extent, but the way the characters were portrayed didn’t help at all. Sam felt one-dimensional and a bit of a cry baby, and all the boys in the house didn’t really change over the course of the whole movie. The outburst and fight at the end of the movie brought some closure to all the fighting, but the characters didn’t change throughout the movie, so the outburst seemed a bit out of nowhere. The side characters also didn’t add much to the movie. After their introduction, they just enter the picture, but we never learn too much about them or see them help in any positive way.
The good thing about this movie was the symbolism and the parallel recovery of Penguin and Sam. As soon as Penguin was able to heal and fly, it paralleled Sam leaving her comfort zone and trying to live life again.
Overall, the movie was okay. It wasn’t anything too special, but I did appreciate the symbolism and the parallelism of Sam and Penguin.
Ivin, Glendyn, director. Penguin Bloom Official Trailer. Www.Netflix.com, 8 Jan. 2020, www.youtube.com/watch?v=3D0PlwGIyW0.
“This site is owned and operated by Austin Daley. Prairiegrownreviews.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. Prairiegrownreviews.com also participates in other affiliate programs. This site is compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.”