BY KENDALL ERICKSON
Do you ever watch a movie that only makes you cry, but also leaves you feeling contemplative and inspired by the time the credits roll? You know, the kind of movie that you leave feeling like you want to save the world? Well, that is just one of the many feelings that the documentary Blackfish gave me.
Blackfish, a documentary from Gabriela Cowperthwaite, focuses on the killer whale Tilikum, a whale that was captured from the wild and kept in captivity at Vancouver’s Sealand park before being bought and moved to SeaWorld in Orlando. Tilikum, having spent the majority of life in captivity, is responsible for the death of three different trainers.
The film explores the devastating circumstances that these animals are forced to live in once they are taken from the wild and forced into captivity. Seriously, everyone, get the tissues ready, because the things that you see will break your heart.
As Tilikum’s story unfolds, we learn more and more about SeaWorld’s attempts to conceal what really goes on behind closed doors. They even go so far as to say that, when trainers die or get injured, it is on account of the trainers’ careless mistakes, and has nothing to do with the fact that the whales are forced to live in tight and unhappy conditions that are the equivalent of a human being forced to stay in a bathtub.
Through interviews with experts and former SeaWorld trainers, we learn just how little truth SeaWorld actually divulges to the public. They even have the audacity to say that the whales live longer and fuller lives in captivity, than they do in the wild–which, if you didn’t already know, is a lie, and this film will show you.
Watching this film, it becomes abundantly clear just how much power a million dollar corporation has, and how that makes it easy for them to fabricate a web of lies that they feed to the public to make them believe that these animals are “happy” living in captivity. In reality, SeaWorld doesn’t care about the animals, nor about their well-being. They care about the money. What’s even more devastating about this film is that, the trainers, who arguably spend the most time with the whales do care about them, but they have no say in what happens to them beyond the shows that they train them for.
I’ve never been a supporter of places like SeaWorld, but after watching this film, I can say with absolute certainty that I never will be. Whales are wild animals, and that is where they belong-in the wild. We have the right to freedom, and these animals should too.
This film is educative, heartbreaking and eye-opening. Watch it; you won’t be disappointed.