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  • Hamish Hart

Penguin Bloom (2020) Review

Updated: Oct 18, 2021

RATING: 5/10

FELLOWSHIP and adversity are the messages throughout, but despite being a family-friendly film, Penguin Bloom flies high when it tackles gloomy subjects in a predictable yet heart-warming tale of familiarity.

Based on true events, Penguin Bloom follows the Bloom family during the aftermath of a tragic scaffolding accident which left wife and mother, Sam (Naomi Watts), paralyzed from the waist down.

Sam feels lost and alone as she fails to find recollection and comfort through her three young children, as well as her husband Cameron (Andrew Lincoln). But that all changes when the family embraces love from an injured magpie they name Penguin.

It goes without saying that Naomi Watts is the standout actor in Penguin Bloom. Watts delivers an exquisite performance through subtle facial mannerisms as the two-time Academy Award nominee proves why she will always be a national treasure.

But that doesn't mean others actors do bad jobs; Andrew Lincoln brings gritty realism to his heartfelt roles as a father figure and supportive husband by gradually becoming more and more frustrated with Sam's depressing attitude, all the while understanding and accepting the struggles her and the family are going through.

The pace is kept relatively stable as the film is centred around one family, and to its own detriment, never delving too far into other conflicting plot elements.

A prime example of this is when a seemingly-critical character is introduced halfway through the film and is built up to be another obstacle for Sam to overcome. But due to its 90 minute runtime, Penguin Bloom never builds on the character as she is simply treated as an additional member of the extended family.

The path to the inevitable and heartfelt ending may be a predictable one, but Penguin Bloom is kept alive through its harrowing true screenplay based around one woman's triumph against seemingly impossible odds.

To call Penguin Bloom a one-woman show may be a bit of a stretch, but in the end, all I was thinking about when I left the theatre was how this film expertly showcased humanity's contentment and nurturing side - especially given current circumstances.


About Me

Hamish newsheadshot_edited.jpg

Born in Longreach in Central West Queensland, I have undertaken a number of prominent roles across the region such as Journalist and Digital Media for The Longreach Leader, as well as appearing on critically-acclaimed radio stations ABC Western Queensland and 4LG and West FM to discuss all things film.

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