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The Horse Whisperer
Movie Stats & Links

Starring: Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sam Neill, Scarlett Johansson
MPAA Rated: PG-13
Released By: Touchstone Pictures
Kiddie Movie: They might get anxious to leave towards the end.
Date Movie: Sure.
Gratuitous Sex: Nope.
Gratuitous Violence: The horse gets hit by a truck - it's pretty graphic.
Action: Not really.
Laughs: Some cute chuckles.
Memorable Scene: The accident at the beginning of the movie.
Memorable Quote: Can't remember exactly, but it's when Tom Booker explains that it really isn't that great to be a bull.
Directed By: Robert Redford
Produced By: Robert Redford & Patrick Markey

The Horse Whisperer
A Movie Review

MPAA Rated - PG-13

It's 2:50 Long

A Review by
Stu Gotz &
The Dude on the Right
Stu's Review:
So when I told my friend, Daisy, that I planned to see "The Horse Whisperer" with The Dude on the Right, she made a snide comment about it being a chick flick.  Well, it was no "Beaches," but then again it was no "Bad Lieutenant" either.  Robert Redford's latest entry in the "Epic Oscar Race" is a good movie, but by no means a must see.  Based on the best selling novel by Nicholas Evans, "The Horse Whisperer" is a very long, drawn out movie that has a lot to say in its long-winded 2 hours and 50 minutes.

 Now I didn't read the book, but by simply watching the movie I got the impression that there was a lot going on in that book.  That being the case I really think that to do the book justice, maybe they should have considered making it a three to four part TV mini-series.  But where's the money in that, right?  So instead they took a complicated story, pieced together between grandiose scenes of Western America, and Robert Redford directed, starred in, and helped produce this "trying to hard to be an epic" film.  This turns into a big mistake in my book because usually when Hollywood makes a movie, they almost  always follow the same recipe: There has to be a hero, usually male, a love interest, and a female character that the female audience can feel for.  So, combine Hollywood procedures, a deep and complicated story, and a director that seems to be trying to make up for past mistakes while trying to get us to remember "The Natural" and this recipe makes for a choppy, slow movie.

I did like "The Horse Whisperer," but I can think of better ways of spending almost 3 hours and $7.50.  That being the case I give "The Horse Whisperer" 3 1/2 out of 5 stars. I'm Stu Gotz.  It's a good film.  'Nuff said.  Well, alright, some more needs to be said, like what the story is about - I'll let The Dude on the Right handle that.  Dude?

The Dude on the Right's Turn:
Dammit Stu, what the hell am I paying you for if you won't write what the film is about?  Oh well, "Hello" to all of you out in internet land!  I'll save my Stu ranting for later, let's get to "The Horse Whisperer."

Now, you can get all deep and emotional about how this movie is the healing of the human soul through the healing of an animal's soul, and how this healing leads to re-unification of a family that has been torn apart by an overworking mother and father, and a daughter who had a horrible accident.  Our healer, Robert Redford as the horse whisperer, Tom Booker.  Sure, maybe you might see it that way, but I saw it as another guy getting his heart broken by a woman, filled with a lot, and I mean a lot (did I say a lot) of beautiful, scenic, and "Wow it's beautiful in Montana" scenes.  Alright, maybe that's not all I saw, but it did seem that the dudes seem to get the bad end of this bargain.  So, here's the scoop.

Kristin Scott Thomas plays Annie, and overworking mom who doesn't spend enough time with her family.  Then you've got the always loving and usually understanding husband, Robert, played by Sam Neill.  Alright, let's throw in the little girl, Grace (Scarlett Johansson), and a bunch of people on the ranch with our here, Robert Redford, as Tom Booker.  So, Grace one morning goes riding with her friend and there is an accident.  Well, the horse gets hit by a truck, and Grace loses her leg.  Grace is having a hard time dealing with her loss, and Pilgrim (the horse - who I thought really deserves the Oscar nomination in this movie) is, well, let's say he's just not the happy horse he used to be.  Well, Annie sees her family falling apart, and seems to think if the horse can be cured, well, then the family can be cured.  Annie can't get Tom to come to New York to see the horse, so she packs up her laptop, Grace, and Pilgrim and drives to Montana.

Now we're in Montana, and Annie sure has no clue about living on a ranch.  But, Tom is there to help all of them along, as well as try to fix the horse.  Easy enough, except for the fact that he starts falling for Annie, Annie starts falling for him, but Annie's still married.  Let's now show scenic after scenic after scenic shot of ranching in Montana, develop the relationship between Annie and Tom, and have all things going well until dad shows up.  So, Tom needs to force Annie into a choice, and he knows the only way to do that is to speed up Pilgrim's recovery.  Long, long, long story short, Tom gets Grace back up on the horse, decisions are made, and one of the dudes gets his heart trampled on.

Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed this movie, well, about two hours of this movie - that extra forty-five minutes just pushed it over the edge.  The story was developed well, the characters all played their parts great, I got squeamish seeing a horse get hit by a truck, and the make-up job on the horse was better than some I've seen on people, but I live in Chicago and can only take so many lovely, panoramic shots of mountains, streams, ranching, people on horses, and just showing how beautiful nature can be.  That and the fact that the lady next to me seemed over-appreciative of the lovely scenes by letting out an "Ooh, aaah," for nearly every one of them (I lost count after about 25).

From me it's 3 out of 5 stars for "The Horse Whisperer."  I really wanted to give it another, even two, but I just kept checking my watch too often towards the end.

Well, that's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!  L8R!

 

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