If you are like us, the title of this film alone made you sad. Whales are known to be very social animals, and the idea that one could be lonely in the big blue sea seems unbearable. And we aren't the only ones to feel this way. For more than 20 years the public has been fascinated by the story of the loneliest whale, and we're sure empathy for it has accelerated during the pandemic when many humans have felt isolated as well.
This documentary is a wonderful mix of mystery and science. Its subject is a whale that was first thought to be a Russian submarine when the U.S. Navy recorded its call in 1989. Further investigation by marine scientist William A. Watkins led to the realization it was a whale calling out at a frequency different from any other whales -- 52 hertz. Had it been stranded from its community? Was it crying for help? How would it find other whales if they could not hear it? What is it like to not be able to communicate with others -- a situation far too many humans know as well.
Over the years, interest in this single whale continued until director Joshua Seman decided to see if his team could find it using sophisticated underwater sound systems. The documentary explains how challenging their quest was; it's not that easy to approach a huge being in a small boat so that you can attach a tracking device to it! And how exciting it was when an intern identified 52's call offshore from Los Angeles. Unfortunately, this area is very busy with shipping lanes.
There are twists and turns in this seafaring saga that are sure to engage your interest and imagination. You'll find yourself rooting for the scientists, admiring their dedication and enthusiasm, and hoping fervently that they find the one they are looking for.