Patrick and the Whale – Toronto 2022

Patrick and the Whale. Courtesy of TIFF.

Patrick and the Whale features stunning cinematography as Patrick Dykstra takes us under the seas to explore these majestic creatures.

Filming underwater is no easy feat. Add animals into the mix and there’s no telling what you’ll get. This is what blows me away in watching a film like Patrick and the Whale. You’re just sitting there and taking in all this beautiful footage. Even though the film runs just over an hour, all you can do is just sit in awe. I fell in love with orcas as a result of the Free Willy movies but there’s no way that I am about to get up close and personal with them but I digress.

The gist of the film is that we’re following Patrick through his encounters with a sperm whale that he calls Dolores. Now that he’s no longer working in the grind of corporate law, all he does is dive with whale. There’s one dive in particular that would change his life. These are large creatures but on this one dive, Dolores decided to see who this person in her personal space. I should not have to remind you that these whales could crush you if they wanted to. That Dolores lets Patrick get up close and personal is something that benefits this film and our study of nature in general. There are very few people like Patrick that know how to act when whales get into their personal space. I would probably be freaking out but that’s just me.

While filmmaker Mark Fletcher lets us get to know Patrick, Patrick more or less serves as our guide in his travel back to Dominica in order to find Dolores again. This time around, she has a calf and it just adds another factor into the equation. It will never not amaze me just how beautiful it is when we’re looking at the underwater footage. This isn’t one of those films that is shot in a matter of weeks but over a period of years. Patrick has studied sperm whales for at least a month or more over the course of the decade. His many changing hair styles throughout the film are proof enough that this film was years in the making.

Patrick and the Whale puts a new perspective in the study of sperm whales and their environment. It’s the next hit from the Vienna-based Terra Mater Studios and is sure to be a winner for any distributor that acquires it.

DIRECTOR: Mark Fletcher
FEATURING: Patrick Dykstra

Patrick and the Whale holds its world premiere during the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival in the TIFF Docs program. Grade: 4/5

Please subscribe to Solzy at the Movies on Substack.

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.