FILM REVIEW | Penguin Bloom

True stories always have a way of hitting just that little bit harder.

They tug the heartstrings with more force, stir the emotions more vigorously.

Australia's latest - Penguin Bloom - is no different.

The new release follows the Bloom family in the wake of mum Sam's horrific accident, which leaves her paralysed, unable to move below the waist. We learn that Sam, played by Oscar-nominee Naomi Watts, fell from a balcony while on a family holiday in Thailand due to a dodgy railing - a freak accident that could have happened to anyone.

Her injury, and the resulting changes to the Bloom lifestyle thereafter, are a huge shock for the whole family, which includes husband Cameron (Andrew Lincoln, The Walking Dead) and their three boys.

A keen surfer, hiker and all-round active person before her accident, Sam struggles with her new, confined lifestyle, dependent on others for help. She cannot find the light in the dark.

Enter an orphaned magpie, named Penguin by eldest Bloom child Noah.

Inspiring: Naomi Watts stars as Sam Bloom in the inspiring true story Penguin Bloom, rated M, in cinemas now.

Inspiring: Naomi Watts stars as Sam Bloom in the inspiring true story Penguin Bloom, rated M, in cinemas now.

The bird, rescued from the beach and brought into the household at Noah's insistence, is much like Sam. While the mum can no longer use her legs, Penguin can't fly, and must rely on the humans around it to survive.

A bond is soon formed between the pair, and it's truly heartwarming to see.

While the whole premise might seem a little on the nose in a completely fictional film, knowing the Blooms' story is real makes it that much easier to connect to.

Watts does an incredible job of bringing to life the frustration and loneliness of Sam's experience, while Lincoln is also really good at portraying Cameron's desperation to keep the family positive and moving forward (even if his Aussie accent falters now and again).

The leads are great, but it's the support cast who almost steal the movie away from them - especially Rachel House (Boy). The Kiwi actress plays Sam's kayak instructor and is immediately a force of inspiration, calm and positivity.

Fellow Oscar-nominee Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) also has some memorable moments as Sam's positive, if somewhat meddlesome, mother Jan.

Prepare for tears.

Rating: 7/10