Based on the Bloom family’s remarkable true story, ‘Penguin Bloom’ is a film about courage, perseverance, and finding one’s path back to happiness with inspiration from the most unlikely of sources. The family’s journey of healing and growth was first documented in the 2016 best-selling novel of the same name by Australian author Bradley Trevor Greive. The book features astounding photographs by Cameron “Cam” Bloom (Andrew Lincoln), a professional photographer and the family’s patriarch.
Inevitably, Hollywood came calling. Directed by Glendyn Ivin (‘Last Ride’), the film’s cast also includes Naomi Watts as Sam Bloom, Jacki Weaver as Sam’s mother Jan, and Rachel House as Sam’s kayaking instructor Gaye. So, if you’re curious about the movie’s ending in particular, then we may be able to help out with that. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Penguin Bloom Plot Synopsis
Like most other Australians, Sam grew up loving the feel of sand tickling her toes and the wind ruffling her hair. A mother of three outgoing and mostly well-adjusted sons, she wasn’t prepared for the curveball that life threw at her. Sam was leaning against a wooden railing on their hotel roof during a family vacation in Thailand when the timber splintered, and Sam fell several meters to the ground. Among other severe injuries, her spine was fractured. She became paralyzed from the chest down and was told that she would use a wheelchair for the rest of her life.
The film opens as the family continues their efforts to adapt to their new realities. Cam looks perpetually overwhelmed. Noah (Griffin Murray-Johnston), Sam’s and Cam’s oldest, blames himself for his mother’s fall as he was the one who convinced his family to go to the roof on that fateful day. The other two, Rueben (Felix Cameron) and Oli (Abe Clifford-Barr), are still quite young, but they are acutely aware that their mother isn’t part of their daily lives much as she used to be.
One day, Noah brings home a magpie chick that has fallen from her nest. Because of their unlimited capacity to love, the children immediately decide to adopt the bird. Several names are suggested, but Noah is adamant about calling her Penguin because of her black and white coloring. It takes some time, but the quirky and remarkably intuitive bird wins the adults’ hearts as well.
With Penguin, Sam finds an odd sense of camaraderie. They are both physically broken. One of Penguin’s wings was twisted to an unnatural angle when she fell, making future flights seem near impossible for her. As Sam takes care of the damaged and fragile little bird, she begins to deal with her own issues as well. Having spent all her life near the ocean, she has always loved the water. Right about the time when Penguin takes her first flight, Sam begins attending a kayaking class.
Penguin Bloom Ending: Why Did Penguin Return?
During the family’s visit to Jacki’s home, Penguin is attacked by a pair of other magpies. Traumatized, she flies away, despite the family’s call for her to come back. Cam spends the entire evening with his children looking for her, but as the rain starts to fall, they have no choice but to return home. The heartbroken Bloom family spends weeks grieving this sudden loss of a family member. But regardless of this, life moves forward for them.
Then, one day, when the family gets home after an exciting day outside, they find Penguin waiting for them on their front lawn. She spends the entire day with the Blooms and eats popcorns from their hands as the family snuggles up together in front of the television at night. The following morning, after Cam and the children have gone out, Penguin takes the teddy bear she stole earlier from Noah’s room and places it neatly back on his bed. Outside in the lawn, she perches on Sam’s arm one last time before taking off and flying away.
Penguin’s actions in this sequence are stunningly human. This is her way of saying goodbye to her family. It is her time to leave the nest permanently. She comes back to let the Blooms know that she is alright, giving them a sense of closure that they desperately sought. The bittersweet scene ends with Sam saying “thank you” to the bird, acknowledging not only the incredible gift Penguin has just given her and her family but also the positive changes that the bird brings to their lives. Penguin’s presence in Sam’s life pulls the latter out of her depression and helps her find an alternative path to happiness. This, in turn, brings normalcy to the relationship between her and her family.
How Did the Family Mend Itself?
Shortly after Penguin flies away for the first time, a confrontation between Sam and Noah takes place. As mentioned above, Noah blames himself for Sam’s accident. However, what is worse is that he thinks that Sam blames him as well. He misconstrues his mother’s despair about her physical and emotional pain as an accusation aimed at him. After listening to it in the video he has been making about his family, Sam does the only thing she can do in that circumstance.
She directly asks her son about it. As pain and anger subsequently begin to pour out, healing begins. Life will always have its ups and downs; that’s inevitable. But nothing is worse than being trapped in inertia, and that’s what happened to the Blooms until Noah found Penguin on that day.
What is in Store For the Bloom Family?
As it is based on a true story, we have a general idea about what happens afterward, some of which are revealed right before the end credits start rolling. Sam’s undaunted competitive spirit takes her to the World Kayaking Championships. She even becomes the World Adaptive Surfing Champion twice. Although she, Cam, and the children don’t know where Penguin is now, the magpie will always be a part of the Bloom family. This life-altering experience with Penguin prompts the Blooms to foster many motherless chicks in the coming years.
Read More: Where Are Cameron and Sam Bloom Now?