Blueback tells the story of Abby (Mia Wasikowski), a marine biologist who returns home upon the news that her mother, Dora (Radha Mitchell) has suffered a terrible stroke. As she cares for her ailing mom, Abby takes the time to think about the incredible influence that Dora has had upon her life. Passionate about preserving the coral reefs, Dora challenges young Abby (Ilsa Fogg) to fight for what’s right and protect the natural world. As they explore the reef together, Abby befriends a large groper fish that they name Blueback who reminds them of the beauty of the ocean floor.
Directed by Robert Connolly, Blueback is a charming and passionate piece that calls for greater responsibility of taking care of our underwater world. Shot amidst the wonders of the Australian barrier reefs, the film features some stunning underwater footage that captures the vibrancy of aquatic life in all its glory. (In fact, the reef is depicted with such vibrancy the one almost wishes the film would have spent more time there.)
While Connolly is hardly subtle in his approach, Blueback wisely decides to embed its messages within the relationship between Abby and Dora and, thankfully, performances within the film are relatively solid. Together, Mitchell and Fogg have some delightful chemistry and give the film a sweetness and charm above that makes it enjoyable. (Strangely though, the best performance may be from Blueback the groper fish himself. For an underwater puppet—yes, sorry to disappoint his fans—Blueback has remarkable personality and its entirely realistic in its depiction.)
Charming and heart-warming, Blueback is an enjoyable piece that reminds the viewer of the connection between life on land and the wonder of the oceans. Simple and sweet, there’s a joy embedded within the film that makes one want to take their own journey under the sea.
To hear our interview with director Robert Connolly, Radha Mitchell and Ilsa Fogg, click here.
Blueback premiered at TIFF ’22. For more information, click here.