Feature

Blackfish

How captivity drives whales mad

Directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite
(PG-13)

****

This “heartbreaking and beautifully crafted documentary” shines much-needed light on a popular form of family entertainment, said Tirdad Derakhshani in The Philadelphia Inquirer. Trick-performing orca whales have delighted audiences for years at marine parks like SeaWorld, yet the evidence gathered here suggests that merely holding these creatures in captivity represents “the essence of cruelty.” Much of the footage that the director has assembled is “painful to watch,” said Jeannette Catsoulis in The New York Times. Whales bleed from injuries inflicted by peers, and one trainer is crushed before our eyes. But this “delicately lacerating” film also gets its power from interviews with rueful ex-trainers, all of whom question the wisdom of penning up intelligent, sociable animals that are born to roam free. SeaWorld has disputed several of the film’s claims, but the world’s largest orca-entertainment firm isn’t the only party to blame, said Michael O’Sullivan in The Washington Post. “It’s hard to imagine anyone coming out of this movie” and “not swearing off” the next family visit to a sea park.

Recommended

Over 130 people dead following stampede at Indonesian soccer game
A view of the riot during a soccer game in Indonesia that left at least 131 people dead.
Tragedy in Indonesia

Over 130 people dead following stampede at Indonesian soccer game

United States brings home 7 detainees in prisoner swap with Venezuela
The Biden administration helped secure the release of seven Americans in Venezuela.
Speed Reads

United States brings home 7 detainees in prisoner swap with Venezuela

10 things you need to know today: October 2, 2022
A view of a destroyed boat in Florida following Hurricane Ian.
Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 2, 2022

Russians shell civilian convoy in Ukraine, killing 20
The city of Izyum, Ukraine is seen on Oct. 1.
Speed Reads

Russians shell civilian convoy in Ukraine, killing 20

Most Popular

Are polls getting the midterms wrong?
Voting.
Opinion

Are polls getting the midterms wrong?

Trevor Noah announces exit from The Daily Show
Trevor Noah
The Daily Showdown

Trevor Noah announces exit from The Daily Show

Ginni Thomas meets with Jan. 6 panel, reiterates fraudulent election claims
Ginni Thomas
'minimal and mainstream activity'

Ginni Thomas meets with Jan. 6 panel, reiterates fraudulent election claims