Penguin Bloom: Naomi Watts Delivers In Drama

Naomi Watts as Sam Bloom in Penguin Bloom. Photo credit: Cameron Bloom/Netflix.

Two-time Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts delivers an effective performance as usual in the new Netflix drama, Penguin Bloom.

Stick around for the credits if you’d like to see a slideshow of photos.

Healing can come in the oddest of places.  For Samantha Bloom (Naomi Watts), her emotional healing came after the family took in an injured baby magpie.  Sam would bond with this injured bird, which her three children–Reuben, Noah, and Oli–named Penguin.  Hence, the film’s title.  This bird was so injured that both flying and hopping were not going to happen.  Not yet, anyway.  But soon, against all odds, Sam would bond with the bird.  This was would not only surprise herself but also her own family.  It soon became impossible to find Sam without Penguin on her shoulders.

But let’s take a step back to where it all begin.  Samantha and Cameron Bloom’s (Andrew Lincoln) children wanted to go on vacation to Disneyland.  Instead, this Australian family ventured to Thailand.  Would things be different if they went to Disneyland?  Probably.  For one, it would be unlikely that we have this film.  While on vacation in Thailand, Sam leans back against a railing and the next you thing you know, she breaks her back in two places.  This results in being paralyzed from the chest down.  It’s the worst thing that could happen for such an active person.  Surfing, traveling, and the outdoors are all on hold.  Not surprisingly, Sam ends up being depressed for many months.  This is when Penguin Bloom arrives at their home.

Sam has since been able to get back into the world.  But without this magpie, who knows what direction Sam’s life would have gone?  And now?  She’s competing in sports.  It might not be the same as before the 2013 injury but Sam Bloom is persevering through it all.

It’s hard to watch Naomi Watts in this film and not think of her Oscar-nominated performance in The Impossible.  Unfortunately, the actress is unlikely to earn a third nomination this year.  While Netflix acquired the film following the Toronto premiere, they haven’t been pushing the film nor Watts.  Awards push or no awards push, Watts captures the hurt and hope that came with one woman’s road to recovery.

DIRECTOR:  Glendyn Ivin
SCREENWRITERS:  Shaun Grant and Harry Cripps
CAST:  Naomi Watts, Andrew Lincoln, and Jacki Weaver, Rachel House, Leeanna Walsman, Lisa Hensley, and introducing Griffin Murray-Johnston, Felix Cameron, Abe Clifford-Barr

Netflix releases Penguin Bloom on January 27, 2021.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.