Robert Connolly’s 2022 directorial venture Blueback is a special kind of film where the marine life is shown with such emotion and care that they become a rich character in the film, overshadowing all the ones played by humans. Based on a novel of the same name by Tim Winton, Blueback is the story of Abby, who returns to her roots in Australia, where she spent her childhood with her mother Dora. Dora was an activist fighting against the growing fishing industry and trying to save the species that were indigenous to the reef near which they lived. Abby comes back to care for Dora, who had a stroke, and reminisces about the time when she had befriended a blue groper.
Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film?
Abby’s father had once gone out into Roebuck Bay and never returned. It was a shark attack, everyone assumed. Dora had to raise Abby alone after that and also manage her activism. It wasn’t a problem at all, as everyone living near the coast was on her side. There were vehement protests against a guy named Costello who was aiming to encroach upon the land to upscale his fishing industry. There weren’t many people around in the small coastal town, but it was a happening place. Abby was one of the smartest girls around, but she did not fully understand much about what Dora was trying to do. Abby’s best friend was a fish, a blue groper, that she had named Blueback. The protests became more intense when there was news of poaching and overfishing, while Abby was growing up dreaming of leaving the coast and studying abroad.
How Did Macka Die?
Older Abby was called by a hospital and was informed that Dora had had a stroke, which is why she returned and met Briggs, her first love. They had become close while Abby lived on the coast. Now she had returned, and they had a heartfelt reunion. But the issue was that Dora, Briggs, and Abby both knew that everybody had their own lives now. Yet, the meeting of an old friend was enough to make everyone emotional in a good way.
Abby didn’t have a father figure growing up, except perhaps Macka. The almost-gypsy fellow, whom Dora chided sometimes for overfishing, was a lovely man. He didn’t seem to care about much, but he made the most of his life on the coast. He partied hard and mixed in easily, yet he behaved like an outcast on most occasions, living isolated on his boat. One day, young Abby saw Macka’s boat in the middle of the ocean, not moving despite the weather warning. Dora went out to check for a shark but found Macka drowned. It was a heart attack. Macka’s son showed up and had no qualms giving Macka’s boat to Abby. Now that she was back, she saw that dilapidated boat and decided to rev it up, spending more and more time with Dora. The flashbacks were so vivid and emotionally entangling that when Abby received a call from her colleague Gitundu about the bleaching in the coral reefs, she refused to go back.
Why Did Dora Call Abby A Coward?
Abby was trying to reconnect with Dora, who was severely impacted by the stroke. Abby started to take care of her, showing her old pictures and things to get her to connect with something and bring back her speech. One other thing Abby remembered was the time when Dora took her to a protest site. Dora had chained herself to a truck that belonged to Costello’s crew. Most of the townfolk were present at the protest site, and it was there that Abby had cold feet, and she remained lost in the background of the protest.
Abby had a great relationship with Dora, but it was from this moment on that the challenges became a tad bit too difficult. Dora called Abby a coward, as she hadn’t seen her protest. Perhaps Abby didn’t see the meaning behind such intense protests when she would leave one day anyway. Dora was hurt when Abby mentioned going abroad and making a difference that way. Dora had been a pillar of the community, and it was painful for her to see that Abby thought Dora couldn’t make a difference via the protests. It was only when Dora went to make her case in front of the fishing committee that Abby’s love and care for marine life truly came to the forefront.
How Did Abby Save Blueback?
During Blueback‘s ending, Dora tried her best to present a case against the committee to stop Costello from setting up camp at the coast, but he was certain that the government would back him as his endeavors were good for the economy. Abby heard Costello’s snarky remarks and went in and gave her drawings away, which showcased indigenous species, including the blue groper, that would be lost if people like Costello were given a free rein. Dora, at that moment, realized that Abby cared about marine life and that it was okay if she went away to study at a foreign university. Younger Abby’s efforts were in vain at the time, as nobody was convinced by a teenager’s drawings except one woman. Dora was happy that she at least got one vote, and it was all because of Abby.
Abby remembered all these conversations and also the time she had befriended Blueback and made a lot of drawings of it, and it was from that day on that she got nerdy about marine life, especially the species found near the reef. After Dora’s presentation in front of the committee, Abby had once seen Costello’s crew fishing near the reef, and it wasn’t even the legal area for it. Abby feared that they had come to poach the blue groper and went in to save it. She went in Macka’s boat and jumped in the ocean, going deep to find her blueback. The men, part of Costello’s crew, were using a spear gun to hunt the fish, and in a dramatic moment, they fired it towards Blueback, not aware that Abby was behind it. Abby had to punch Blueback to save it, and she was pulled away by Dora to dodge the spear gun. This incident might have led to Costello backing off from that area, as his crew had been caught red-handed. It was all because Abby went in to save Blueback.
This was perhaps the last of those core memories between Dora and Abby. Dora’s efforts ensured that marine life was thriving near the coast, and it was because of her efforts against poaching and overfishing that whales returned to the region. Dora’s house, which she never sold to Costello, was the perfect spot for viewing the whales. It was at the very end that Dora spoke to Abby, after having seen the whales. She told her about her time with Jack, Abby’s father. Dora passed away, and Abby saw a marine reserve getting established in her name to honor her legacy. She had made a difference after all. Everybody in the town chipped in, and Abby stayed there until the reserve was up and running. She had lots of work to do that she had left behind. Now that she felt like she had truly dealt with her past, she could begin working on her present to secure the future. She knew that her efforts counted, no matter how insignificant they looked in the long run. She deep-dived into the ocean and found a blue groper, and it was like her childhood was right there, that she had once abandoned. She was home, and now she realized why it was important to protect it.