Sweeping strings accompany the opening sequence of balletic whales cavorting in brilliant blue sea, changing abruptly to a cacophony as the bad guys with nets chug up in their tugs. Willy is trapped and his family swims mournfully away. Cut to an angelic street-kid, Jesse (Richter), caught graffiti-ing Willy's tank; the only way to escape 'baby jail' he discovers is to go to well-meaning but stiffo foster parents and clean up the tank under the tutelage of Haida Indian whale-trainer Randolph (Schellenberg). Willy, meanwhile, has turned ornery. Soon, however, Jesse's mouth organ is echoing Willy's whalesong and the message is spelt out: boy and whale get on because they're both looking for a family. This well-acted film has a straight-faced tone which is hard to resist.