Free Willy (1993) Review

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When street kid Jesse is given one final chance to be part of family, he must also repair the vandalism he caused at the marina. This is where he sees Willy a young whale which had been captured by fishermen and taken away from his family. Being kept in a fish bowl and unwilling to perform, forms a bond with Jesse.

Throughout watching the film I could not decide if I had seen it before or not, I am sure I must have at some point right? Anyway that meant I couldn’t really remember much about the film apart from the fact that a boy tries to free the whale. But I guess you could know that just from the poster and reading a very brief and basic plot!

That being pretty much the whole plot, right? Well, in a one word answer yes. But in reality it attempts to place a lot more heart into the story. With Jesse and Willy having a similar background in terms of not having a family. Jesse was left by his mother and even six years later believes that she is going to come back one day. Hence his awful behaviour so nobody will actually want to adopt him. That and getting in with the wrong crowd, running away from the home it all builds up nicely for a redemption story.

We get that in abundance as well, when Jesse’s new family life starts and he acts out. Working his debt back and painting over the graffiti at the marina was to be the making of him and helping him to understand what it really means to care for something. He has a very good bond with Willy the whale. Something he learns is that they put a lot of trust in maybe just one person. When they know that they are not actually trying to hurt them.

So while this film does have a straightforward plot it attempts to be more than that which I think means you must give it more credit than you first think. I found myself enjoying the film, you don’t really have to work anything out with the nature of it all. I felt Jason James Richter was good enough in the leading role and given some emotional scenes to show off his acting ability.

Sometimes it really is such a good idea to revisit these family type films from the 90s as they usually do have some good moments in them which I certainly seem to forget about.  I am therefore firmly placing this film in that category!

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