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Recommended age 8-18
90 minutes
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LONELIEST WHALE: THE SEARCH FOR 52, THE cover image Click to play video trailer
The riveting documentary The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52, by Joshua Zeman, brings us closer to our deep connection with animals. From the very first moment of the film, the beauty of the underwater world and the majesty of whales hooks the viewer in. The story is filled with hope and disappointment; it evokes emotion at every twist and turn. Anyone who watches the film immediately sympathizes with the 52 Hertz Whale.

The call of the 52 Hertz Whale was first detected during the Cold War. At first, the noise was thought to come from a Russian submarine, but later it was discovered to be a whale. Scientists had never heard whale sounds with that frequency before and one scientist, Bill Watkins, began to search for it. After the death of Bill Watkins a group of scientists decided to set out on a seven day expedition in search of 52. The film follows the ups and downs of their adventure, with no guarantee of success. Will they find the 52 Hertz Whale? The ending might not be what you expect.

This film features the world's biggest experts in marine biology and whales. Each of these scientists has their own expertise and, when they work together, they create the perfect team to find 52. They communicate so well that, without even knowing it, I was learning about anatomy, whale communication, and important patterns in science. The music brings everything together, creating a dramatic and sentimental effect. The whale sounds are haunting and touched me deeply. My favorite parts of this film are the majestic underwater scenes. By placing suction cup cameras onto the whales and using underwater drones, the filmmakers were able to record whale movements and interactions in all their beauty.

This message of this film is that humans and animals are connected in more ways than we can ever imagine. We don't need a common language to communicate. We are connected by nature and emotion. We learn that severe noise pollution from shipping containers and oil drilling disrupts their ability to understand each other. The story makes me want to buy locally and think of ways to protect the safety of whale habitats. There is occasional use of profanity, but there are no offensive or degrading words. While some of the expeditions are risky, it is unlikely that kids would imitate them.

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 gets 5 out of 5 stars from me. It is a must-see film. I recommend it for ages 8 to 18, plus adults. Adults will absolutely love this film as well. The film releases in theaters July 9, 2021 and on digital on July 16, 2021.

By Nyara A., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 12

Passionate researchers and an adventurous search for a mysterious singing whale is just what you'll get in The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52! This documentary takes you on a journey through the Pacific Ocean while delivering a touching and thrilling story about connections between marine life and humans.

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 is a documentary about a whale, nicknamed 52 or "the loneliest whale" that had never been seen, but known to exist by the unique song he sings at 52 Hertz. Originally thought to be the sound of a submarine, scientists later learned the sound came from a whale. This documentary follows a team of scientists on their journey searching for the 52 Hertz whale, and the challenges in finding it.

Created, produced and directed by Joshua Zeman The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 is very interesting and educational. My favorite part was seeing how Mr. Zeman and the researchers were able to put tracking devices on the whales. It seemed very challenging and astonishing at the same time. They used advanced equipment to accomplish that, such as the SOSUS, which is used by the military to track the sounds of submarines. The film shows how whales sing to connect with other whales. However, when it comes to 52, his song is different, which might not enable him to communicate with others; hence is believed to be lonely.

One of the biggest lessons in this documentary is that humans should pay attention to how everything is connected. Even if we don't speak the same language, there are always ways to connect and communicate with other living species. The film also touches on how humans can help whales by reducing noise pollution from things such as off-shore drilling, which really interferes with how whales communicate with each other. Parents should be aware that there are scenes showing people harming whales.

The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 gets 5 out of 5 stars and I recommend it for ages 12 to 18, plus adults. You can find this film in theaters and on demand starting July 9, 2021.

By Tiana S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 10

see youth comments
The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52 is a feature length documentary that will take audiences on a journey to find the forgotten "52 Hertz Whale." Calling out at 52 Hz, a frequency unrecognized by other whales, this mysterious creature is believed to have lived its life in complete solitude, its calls forever unanswered by its own kind. In our ever-present fascination with these majestic beasts, the tale of "52" has prompted an intense reaction amongst our own species, pointing to a greater awareness of human loneliness than ever before.
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