Unlike that other ocean movie we’ve all seen, in this family-friendly film you’re rooting for the ship to hit the iceberg. The ship in question is a barge from the Soviets, coming to break the miles of ice that have trapped three gray whales from continuing their migration out of the Arctic Circle.

 

In “Big Miracle,” John Krasinski stars as Adam Carlson, the TV news reporter who breaks the story that the whales are trapped, which prompts outlets across the globe to come to Barrow, Ala., to get in on the scoop.

 

His ex-girlfriend, Rachel Kramer (Barrymore), is a Greenpeace volunteer who attaches herself to the cause by doing whatever possible to free the whales, even diving into to the frigid Arctic to get a close-up view of how they’re doing.



You’ll get frustrated as the characters run into obstacles while trying to save the massive mammals, and you’ll feel as triumphant as they do when solutions are found.



Because the film’s based on a true story, one of the most fun parts is the epilogue — when the photos of the real-life heroes involved in the story flash across the screen. (As this is Hollywood, the actors are considerably more beautiful than their real-life counterparts.) The end also boasts a cameo from a certain former Alaskan governor — if you can count superimposed footage as a cameo — which serves as a funny wink to all the grown-ups in the crowd.