PENGUIN BLOOM*CUT TO THE CHASE*
NOTE: This spoiler was submitted by Alex
Noah Bloom (Griffin Murray-Johnston) narrates how his parents Sam (Naomi Watts) and Cameron (Andrew Lincoln) love the ocean. With his siblings Reuben (Felix Cameron) and Oli (Abe Griffin-Barr), he says their family was perfect until the year before, when the family went on a trip to Thailand. Sam falls through a broken railing a very long way and breaks her back, and is paralyzed from her T6 vertebrae down – what she calls from her bra-strap. The family tries to adjust to the new normal, with Cameron trying to get the three boys to help pitch in and take care of their mother. Sam feels awkward and cumbersome in her wheelchair.
Sam’s mother Jan (Jacki Weaver) comes to spend time with and help take care of Sam, who is depressed and closed off. On the beach, Noah finds a magpie bird that has fallen from a tree and is clearly injured and unable to fly. He brings it home, where Noah keeps it in a basket and wants to take care of it, though Sam wants no part of it. Noah names her Penguin because she’s black and white. Noah looks up what to feed Penguin and begins caring for her, though Sam cautions him she is a wild bird and can’t stay forever. When Cameron asks Sam how she is in front of the boys, she later angrily admonishes him not to do so because she doesn’t want to lie to them. She declines to go to the beach with the rest of the family and instead goes to bed early.
One night the boys get sick with food poisoning and are throwing up in the bathroom, and Cameron has to go alone to help them because Sam is stuck in bed. Sam begins crying because the boys called out for their dad instead of how they used to call for her, and worries she can’t be a mom anymore. Noah flashes back to the Thailand trip, and remembers how he led his mother up to the area where the rail she was holding on to broke. Meanwhile, Cameron continues to try to get Sam out of bed, but all she wants to do is lay there. Noah leaves for school and asks Sam to look after Penguin while he’s at school and make sure she eats. Penguin’s constant chirping drives Sam crazy.
Sam is forced to pull herself out of bed, get into her chair, and go into the living room to feed penguin. She tries to feed him unsuccessfully, but when she begins to leave Penguin begins squeaking again. She drowns her out with loud music, and when Sam returns to the room she can’t seem to find her. She chases Penguin throughout the house and eventually finds Penguin stuck in a vat of honey from the family’s honey-making business. Sam takes Penguin and gently cleans her up. Sam’s friend and former co-worker Bron comes by to drop off food and flowers, but Sam pretends not to be home.
Penguin begins to get stronger and the entire family bonds with her. Sam’s sister Kylie comes to visit along with Jan. They go out to lunch and run into Bron, who reaches out to Sam, but Sam says maybe they can do something in a few weeks. When she gets home, Sam angrily smashes all the pictures of her surfing and being happy outdoors. The family sees the mess and Cameron tries to tell Sam she’s still the same person she was, but Sam says she’s not and she’s nothing. Later, Sam takes Penguin outside and tries to get her to fly. Penguin makes some progress but doesn’t quite achieve it.
Cameron suggests to Sam she go to a water-based physical therapy that involves kayaking, and when Sam refuses it leads to another fight where Cameron says they’re all suffering. Afterward, he snaps at Noah to clean up Penguin’s messes. Penguin hears Sam wincing in pain and beings chirping outside her door, which leads Noah to find her fallen on the floor. Afterward, Penguin takes off flying through the house and out into the sky. The boys begin cheering, and Cameron rushes and helps Sam get into her chair so she can come out and see for herself, and the whole family watches Penguin fly. Afterward, Sam agrees to go kayaking.
The family goes to the kayaking, where the instructor Gaye (Rachel House) teaches Sam how to kayak. Towards the end, Gaye tells Sam she wants her to tip over. Sam is incredulous and refuses, but Gaye says she can, she’ll be able to swim, and that falling off the bike is the easy part. Sam angrily says she can’t, but eventually lets herself fall into the water, where she is able to use her arms and float on top of the water. Later, Sam thanks Cameron for pushing her to go. Cameron tells her he’s read up on magpies and that they mate for life. Sam keeps working and doing therapy with Gaye.
On Sam’s birthday, the whole family – even Penguin – go to Jan’s house to celebrate. Gaye screams when she walks in and Penguin flies at her. Jan begins getting emotional and says Sam can’t do anything on her own because it’s too dangerous, leading to an argument that is interrupted by Penguin’s frantic chirping – they see two other territorial magpies violently attacking her outside. Cameron rushes out to try to save her, managing to scare the other bird away, but Penguin flies away in a panic. The boys and Cameron search for her in the rain but are unable to find her.
At home, Sam finds the video project Noah has been making and narrating about Sam’s accident, in which he says he wishes it was him who had fallen and broken his back. The family continues to search for Penguin, and the kids worry she’s dead, but Cameron says she’s tough. Sam tells Noah that it’s not his fault and that he needs to let it go, and that he’s not to blame for Penguin or for the accident. Noah says she won’t look at him or hug him, and Sam emotionally explains she’s just afraid that all her emotions will come out and she wishes they had never gone on the roof, but it was their decision, not his. She apologizes for not helping them get through it, but she is strong enough to get through it and they all will.
Sometime later, the family surprises Sam with a trip out. Gaye, Cameron, Kylie, and Bron all carry Sam on a folding carrier on a hike up into the mountains. When they arrive at their destination, Sam imagines standing up and feeling the breeze. When they’re alone, Sam tells Cameron to ask her the question she told him never to ask her. He asks her how she is, and she says she’s better. When they arrive home, they Penguin waiting outside their home, and the whole family is elated to have her back. Sam replaces the pictures she destroyed with new ones of kayaking with Gaye, and of Penguin. At home, Penguin leads Sam outside. After staying with Sam a moment, she flies away, and Sam tells her thanks.
Post-script says that Sam competed in the kayaking world championships and became an adaptive surfing champion. It then says wherever Penguin is, she will always be part of the Blooms.
On a family trip to Thailand, Sam (Naomi Watts) falls through a broken railing and breaks her spine, paralyzing her from the middle of her back down. She is depressed and sullen, and her oldest son Noah finds an injured magpie that he brings home. He names it Penguin, and the family nurses her back to health. Sam begins to do physical therapy and accepts her condition. Eventually, healthy, Penguin flies away and Sam says "thank you".