Naomi Watts stars in the true story of Sam Bloom, whose recovery from a tragic accident is helped when she and her family meet an unusual visitor.
Naomi Watts delivers an inspiring performance in Glendyn Ivin’s Penguin Bloom, dramatizing the surprising, true-life story of a woman who suffers a traumatic accident and then finds a unique ally to pull her out of despair. This portrait of a family finding its way through crisis is both moving and heartwarming.
Australian Sam Bloom (Watts) is enjoying a blissful vacation in Thailand when a horrifying accident sends her falling storeys down to the pavement. Life changes in an instant for her, but also for her husband, Cameron (Andrew Lincoln), and their three children. Back home, Sam’s painful adjustment to her new disability leaves her unable to appreciate her idyllic home and a family trying to connect. “It’s not enough,” she says plainly.
When the family takes in a stray magpie, naming it Penguin for its black-and-white plumage, Sam is practically scornful. But the little bird cries when it needs help, forcing Sam to focus on more than her own hurt. Against her better judgment, Sam begins to tend to Penguin.
What could come off as insanely corny benefits from its grounding in truth, its strong script, and terrific performances all around. Jacki Weaver makes a delicious turn as Sam’s mum, and the amazing Rachel House, frequently seen in Taika Waititi’s films, takes a memorable role as Sam’s kayaking teacher. Reminding us why she’s one of cinema’s best at conveying conflicted inner life, Watts illuminates a woman who believes she’s lost everything that defines her, until she finds herself again.
Content advisories: accident trauma, mature themes