When Judith and Grace
Try to go for a ride
Astride Pilgrim and Gulliver out in the snow,
They climb up a hill,
But the horses just slide.
Then a truck comes along going too fast to slow.
Judith and her horse
Are killed upon impact,
But Pilgrim and Grace are both injured and sore.
Grace loses a leg,
And a vet says, in fact,
That it’s better for Pilgrim to suffer no more.
But Grace’s mom Annie
Refuses consent,
For she can’t make that choice when her daughter’s so hurt.
But Grace soon becomes
A depressed malcontent,
And they each think the other one treats them like dirt.
Meanwhile, poor Pilgrim
Is savage and scarred,
And the sight of young Grace only fills him with fear.
So Annie decides,
Though the trip will be hard,
She must go to a pro on Montana’s frontier.
Forsaking her husband,
With whom she’s at odds,
Annie drives both the horse and her daughter out west
To horseman Tom Booker,
Whom a magazine lauds
As a “horse whisperer” who can calm the distressed.
He doesn’t expect her,
But, seeing the horse,
He says Grace must help out before he proceeds.
The therapy starts,
And Tom doesn’t use force;
He gives Pilgrim the distance and love that he needs.
Tom’s brother invites
The New Yorkers to stay
In the ranch’s guest quarters while Tom does his work.
So little by little,
Tom’s efforts do pay,
And soon Pilgrim’s no longer going berserk.
But little by little,
It seems Annie’s growing
More closely attached to this handsome cowboy.
And Grace also lets
Her own smile start showing.
They find that this new way of life they enjoy.
It’s still difficult
For both Pilgrim and Grace
To get over the trauma that brought them so low,
And yet, with Tom’s help,
They both learn to face
All the fears and distress that they couldn’t let go.
Though Annie is torn
By her love for dear Tom,
Who returns her emotion but doubts it’s enough,
She decides to depart
And remain wife and mom,
And Tom watches her leave from a large grassy bluff.

Since today is my VC’s birthday, I felt it only appropriate to include one of her favorite movies on this day of my film countdown. Honestly, she loves this movie way more than I do, probably putting it in her top 50. I’m more cool toward it, but I’ll still admit that Robert Redford is as charming as ever as Tom Booker and actually does a nice job as both actor and director.

I don’t love, love, love this movie like my VC, simply because it is somewhat of a chick flick and a long and slow-paced one at that. Still, there is much to admire, mainly in the acting and cinematography. Kristin Scott Thomas as Annie gets more likable as the film goes on, and Scarlett Johansson shines in one of her early roles as the traumatized Grace. The scenery of the Montana ranch is breathtaking and truly glorious. Plus, the birds-eye views of the highway snaking through the countryside during Annie’s road trip across America offer unique perspectives I haven’t seen elsewhere.

I also appreciate the moral ending. I mentioned in my post on Witness that the end of that film was unsatisfying since the Amish woman had already slept with John Book, acting on her passions, before deciding to remain Amish as if nothing had happened. Here, Annie is clearly tempted by Tom, and he by her, but neither does anything to really put the other over the edge. In the end, her leaving is sad but more understandable since she was essentially stopping herself before their romance went too far. This decision wasn’t popular with some critics, but it’s one that I respect much more than the one in Witness.

Overall, The Horse Whisperer is a well-made film with magnificent vistas and an interesting view of a way of life foreign to most, one that, like the Amish lifestyle, I do not envy for myself but I certainly admire. I will say, though, that this romance will mainly appeal to Robert Redford fans and horse enthusiasts, like my VC.

Best line: (Annie) “I don’t jog, Mr. Booker, I run.”  (Tom) “Well that’s lucky for you. The grizzlies around here mostly go for the joggers.”

Artistry: 7
Characters/Actors: 8
Entertainment: 4
Visual Effects: 5
Originality: 5
Watchability: 4
Other (language): -3
TOTAL: 30 out of 60

Tomorrow: #306: King Kong (2005)

© 2014 S. G. Liput