Netflix’s Penguin Bloom Review: Squawk!

Penguin Bloom is a drama film directed by Glendyn Ivin and starring Naomi Watts, Griffin Murray-Johnston, Andrew Lincoln and Jacki Weaver alongside other cast members. The movie is based on the book by the same name by Cameron Bloom and Bradley Trevor Greive.

Life-altering situations, especially those that result in a disability, can be quite alarming and frustrating for the person going through it. In media, it’s a tough subject to watch – especially because, as viewers, we don’t have the power to change what’s going on. You can just have hope and wish things come out great at the end. Adding a dose of inspiration and hope is Penguin Bloom, Naomi Watts’s new movie that is based on true events.

The Blooms are a happy family, consisting of couple Cameron and Sam and their three sons. However, a fateful vacation to Thailand proves devastating for them when an accident leaves Sam paralysed from the chest down. Seething in anger, frustration and self-pity, Sam is unsure how to live her life or where her place is in the family. However, a visit from a magpie, affectionately named Penguin, changes the course of the family’s life.

Penguin Bloom is a heart-touching look at the struggles faced by a family after a life-changing incident. Sam is, understandably, upset at her condition especially because she was athletic and outgoing before. We also see how her family takes the changes, with everyone confused about how to make the situation better. The scenes are extremely uncomfortable and sad to watch because you really want to give all of these people a hug.

Penguin Bloom
Netflix’s Penguin Bloom Review: Squawk! 3

However, Penguin’s entry into their lives gives a new ray of hope to the family, especially Sam. The parallels are all there – just like Penguin, Sam must also get over her disability to “fly” and find her place. The movie does a good job of bringing forth these parallels but doesn’t go too over-the-top with them. The scenes of sadness or hope, too, are quite balanced and your emotions won’t ever go haywire while you watch it.

Penguin Bloom is a very hopeful and sweet experience which shows all the different sides of a situation like this. The last bit of hope for Sam comes when she joins kayaking and after that, there’s no going back. These scenes are, honestly, great to watch. You feel how Sam is feeling in those moments and it’s quite liberating. Add to that the lovely performances from the cast and you have a movie that does what it’s supposed to do.

Naomi Watts as Sam is the backbone of Penguin Bloom. It obviously is also about the family, but Watts’s Sam brings forth the desperation, hope and a myriad of other emotions that are expected in this situation. Andrew Lincoln as Cameron, too, pulls his weight and comes across as the solid rock in Sam’s life who never gives up. The three boys, Noah, Oli and Rueben, are great – considering the film is narrated by Noah. There’s a scene between Noah and Sam where they break down their walls and say what’s on their minds that’s absolutely heartbreaking and shows just how much the cast invested in this story.

In addition to the performances, the cinematography and background score are great and ties the movie together. Penguin Bloom is based in Australia and cinematographer Sam Chiplin leaves no stones unturned to capture the beauty of his surroundings. The scenes look absolutely beautiful and are mesmerising. Add to that the poignant background score and you have a film that touches your soul and makes you emotional.

Summing up: Penguin Bloom

Penguin Bloom
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Penguin Bloom’s story is emotional and hard-hitting. With great performances and direction, it makes for a good watch that promises to stay with you after you’re done. Also, Penguin is the cutest little bird ever – why wouldn’t you enjoy it?

Penguin Bloom is streaming on Netflix.

Liked the Penguin Bloom review? Read our other reviews here.




Penguin Bloom hits the right notes with its lovely story, great performances and a cute-as-a-button magpie.

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