Projections - Movie Reviews


Andre is based on the amazing true story of a seal who forms a lasting bond with the Rockport, Maine family that adopted him as an orphaned pup.  The animal-loving Goodridge family (called Whitney in the film) rescued Andre from the waters near their home in 1962 and, with great care and creativity, managed to nurse the ailing seal back to health.  He proves to be intelligent and entertaining - charming Rockport's residents with his funny antics.

Due to their growing attachment to Andre, the Goodridge family was very saddened by the prospect of returning Andre to the wild.  But, they are ultimately forced to do so.  In order to protect him from the dangers of the harsh winter, they decide to put him in the New England Aquarium in Boston for the winter and release him in the spring.  Upon being released, Andre chose not to join the other seals in their journey south and, instead, high-"finned" it back to Maine, covering nearly 300 miles to reunite with his beloved human family.  It was a trip he was to repeat for 23 consecutive years, until his death in 1986.

Producer Annette Handley says, "I was attracted to the theme of letting go.  It is very hard to let go of someone or something you love very much, yet we learn that when we do it comes back - perhaps not in the same form, but it comes back."

Nine-year-old Tina Majorino (When A Man Loves a Woman) plays Toni Whitney, the youngest child of Larry (Keith Carradine) and Thalice (Chelsea Field).  Toni is a troubled child who, because of her shyness, finds it difficult to make friends.  With animals she finds the companionship that eludes her at school and Andre is no exception.  Through her friendship with Andre, Toni becomes stronger and happier.

Although Toni and her father Larry are the first to truly care for him, in time Andre has a positive effect on the whole family and eventually even the entire town of Rockport.  "To return is a commitment of faith," comments Director George Miller.  "Andre displays that faith in the family he adopted by coming back to them."  Andre's journeys warmed the hearts of all who heard his story.

Sea lion trainer Suzanne Fortier, who worked devotedly with the aquatic cast, adds, "We all have a place for an animal in our hearts.  Andre made the choice every year to be a part of the (Whitney) family.  There was an incredible amount of healing within this group that the animal stirred up.  All the townspeople grew to love Andre, and he became a symbol of Rockport's spirit."

Today, a statue of Andre looks out over Rockport Harbor, with a plaque that pays homage to "a most remarkable seal."  People of all ages will enjoy this remarkable film.



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