‘Penguin Bloom’ Summary & Analysis – Cultivating The Strength To Start All Over Again


No tragedy is a personal tragedy. Everyone is affected by a person’s loss. By everyone, I mean, their family, friends, and whomsoever that person created an impact on. Penguin Bloom tries to create an environment centering around a tragedy, but the way the protagonist, Sam Bloom deals with it, is inspiring. It is a story about how hope from the smallest of creatures. If the struggles of any creature inspire you to breathe, live, and dream, then do cherish it, no matter if it’s a human or just a bird.

Penguin Bloom is based on the novel of the same name, written by Cameron Bloom and Bradley Trevor Greive. A subtly impacting screenplay has been penned down by Shaun Grant and Harry Cripps and the inspiring tale has been directed by Glendyn Ivin. The story is inspired by the real-life events of Real Sam Bloom, the point that makes this story more inspiring. Let’s explore how this film impacts the viewers by just centering around a harmless creature.

The Penguin that helped Sam to “Bloom” again

It won’t be wrong to say that the person who gives you a “why” to live can be synonymous with God. In fact, in this story, Penguin is not a person, it’s a word, not a literal penguin but an Oriental magpie-robin. The story begins with the Bloom family consisting of Sam’s husband Cameron and their three sons. The Bloom’s family have been on a vacation to Thailand when a tragedy strikes. In an old building, while clicking pictures, Sam falls down from the terrace due to a faulty wooden rod.

Sam injures her spine leading to partial paralysis. Months later, Sam is devoid of any will to live and is constantly angry about herself. She can’t walk or move on her own, while once, she used to surf in the Ocean. Ocean, it was her life. Her son, Noah, who is also the narrator of the film, blames himself for the loss. Noah wants to correct things back to normal, but maybe, sometimes, there is no going back. One has to adapt and prepare for the future.

Noah adopts an injured magpie whom he calls Penguin. The Penguin couldn’t fly. Noah quotes, “must be weird to have wings and not be able to fly.” Like Sam, she has legs but she can’t walk. Penguin’s resilience to fly and Sam’s care and support help Penguin to fly again. When Sam understands a basic emotion that if a bird could hope to fly again, why not a human, for whom, the power of adaptation is much stronger. Taking inspiration from Penguin, Sam faces her fear and hears the calling of the ocean. Sam learns Adaptive Surfing and becomes a two-times champion.

She dedicates her new life to Penguin because “Wherever Penguin is, she will always be part of the Bloom.

Penguin Bloom inspires you from top to toe. It’s an outstanding coming out of loss story and Naomi Watts as Sam just rocked the performance. There are moments where it becomes too hard to not shed a tear. Wherever you are, whatever you are suffering through, just look beyond yourself, perceive the struggles of others, because you don’t know, who will become your Penguin. And when you find it, adapt and conqueror the new future with thy new self.

A Note on Personal Loss

At its core, Penguin Bloom is an inspiring tale, but it also leaves a beautiful message which I feel is worth mentioning. Sometimes, we are so uptight about our loss/tragedy that we fail to see how our anger and unwillingness to adapt, harm the people around us. Sam sure does understand at a point that her hopelessness and anger is mentally affecting the kids and her husband. Cameron spells out the same, “What do you need, Sam? ‘Cause I am running out of ideas. The boy and I, we’re all  struggling.” Hence, it is not our efforts that hurt people around us, but our inability or motive to make strides towards a better future. Cameron never had an issue with Sam’s loss or tragedy, he wasn’t worried about her failing at something, he was worried about Sam not trying. Penguin Bloom fills your heart with melancholy not because Sam is in pain, but because people around her are suffering. It’s the genius of impactful writing that creates a world, where each person affects and is affected by the protagonist. The writers have done an incredible job and the whole narrative is commendable.

This isn’t a film about a great tragedy. It’s a film about a tragedy that is great in the mind of a person. It is a film about changing one’s view towards how we perceive things. It’s a film about taking charge of one’s life and acting upon it to make it better. It’s a film about inspiration and Change. It’s a film about cultivating the strength to start all over again. Please don’t miss it.

Penguin Bloom is streaming on Netflix.

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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