Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

September 10, 2013

CALLERI: Two new films reveal when words are important, and why whales need love


Niagara Gazette —

Science tells us that whales exist in family groups, have a strong sense of self-esteem, and communicate using a sophisticated language. Cowperthwaite begins with the 2010 death of Sea World lead trainer Dawn Brancheau, an employee who was dragged underwater and killed by a whale. The movie builds its argument against keeping whales for entertainment value by exposing their suffering and keying in on the abuse inflicted on the mammals. We learn that whales are captured as babies and that the parents scream out after they are separated from their calves. The riveting movie reveals the workings of corporate conspiracies to blame human error for every death or mauling in a park.

“Blackfish” is filled with fascinating and surprising information about whales, their treatment as clowns, and how truly sentient they are. This is a genuinely great documentary.



Michael Calleri reviews films for Night and Day. Contact him at

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