Critics Consensus

Blackfish is an aggressive, impassioned documentary that will change the way you look at performance killer whales.



Total Count: 128


Audience Score

User Ratings: 28,591
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Movie Info

Magnolia Pictures invites you and a guest to attend an advance screening of BLACKFISH, an eye-opening documentary directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite. Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000-pound orcas, or "killer whales," soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet, in our contemporary lore this mighty black-and-white mammal is like a two-faced Janus-beloved as a majestic, friendly giant yet infamous for its capacity to kill viciously. BLACKFISH unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who-unlike any orca in the wild-has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what exactly went wrong? Shocking, never-before-seen footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca's extraordinary nature, the species' cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades, and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals. (c) Magnolia


Critic Reviews for Blackfish

All Critics (128) | Top Critics (34) | Fresh (126) | Rotten (2)

Audience Reviews for Blackfish

  • Jun 29, 2016
    Blackfish is an eye-opening exploit drenched in heartbreak and controversy as it explores the extent of captivity. A documentary hell-bent on impact and change that is both memorable and provoking. 4.5/5
    Eugene B Super Reviewer
  • Feb 20, 2016
    This doco shows what majestic intelligent creatures orca are and makes a strong case against holding them in captivity.
    Juli R Super Reviewer
  • Apr 06, 2014
    From what I hear it is one sided, but it will make you not even want to consider going to a water park with these animals again.
    Vincent T Super Reviewer
  • Mar 05, 2014
    A heart-wrenching, truly saddening documentary which concerns the corrupt practices of SeaWorld, notably how they put the well-being of their trainers on the line in the name of money and profits. This film is geared to get the viewer angry, and it does that by giving many examples of how SeaWorld knew what they were doing was wrong, but still lied about it to cover their own tracks. The death of Dawn Brancheau and how they have the gaul to blame her for her demise instead of the killer whale that viciously murdered her. It is a heavy film, at times threatening to pummel the viewer down into submission, but ultimately is an effective one that will not leave you quickly.
    Dan S Super Reviewer

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