USA / English
"The biggest dreams take the most courage.
"Young Katy claims a wild horse as her own -- an effort to prove to her father that she is capable of one day taking over the family ranch.
Reviewed by Nigel_Q
Sometimes the chasm between film critic and audience is simply too big
to cross. It's no one's fault, we just see more movies than the rest of
you. So when a critic watches a movie like Flicka, he see in it the
things he's seen a hundred times before in film after film after film.
If you've never seen any of the literally multitudes of other movies
Flicka is drawing from, then there's a good chance you'll find it
enjoyable. Unaware of the movie's unoriginality, I can see how the
occasional film-goer and especially young audiences will really enjoy
it. There's nothing little girls love better than horses.
For the rest of us though, Flicka is an exercise in repetition. Yes,
the scenery is beautiful and the horses quite stunning, but the script
is just another in a long line of daddy-daughter conflict stories with
a dash of animal husbandry mixed in. There hasn't been a new addition
to the genre since The Little Mermaid, a movie that continues to define
in the minds of youngsters and not-so-youngsters the nature of
parent/child developmental conflict. Flicka doesn't redefine anything
it just goes through the same familiar motions.
Based on the popular (and in my estimation quite good) novel "My Friend
Flicka", the movie version stars Alison Lohman as budding young farm
girl Katy McLaughlin. Katy is fifteen or sixteen, an age which Alison
has been playing successfully for four or five years. No more. Lohman
is twenty-eight and starting to look it. Flicka struggles mightily to
young her up, but the result is more creepy than anything; they might
as well have just put her hair in pigtails, given her a lollypop and
called it a day for all the good it does. Once baby-faced Lohman has
grown up, and it's about time her characters did too.
Katy returns home to her family's Quarterhorse ranch for the summer,
and immediately starts butting heads with her father, played by country
music star Tim McGraw. I'm not sure what it is that makes movie stars
want to be musicians and musicians want to be actors, but in the case
of McGraw his transition isn't wholly unwelcome. He's not exactly
polished, but his stiff, folksy behavior serves him well here, as it
did in Friday Night Lights. Katy's dad wants her to get an education,
while Katy wants to run wild and free across the ranch, feeding fever
dreams filled with horses.
While roaming the range Katy encounters a rare wild Mustang, helps
capture her, and names her Flicka. Forbidden by her father to ride it,
she develops a connection with the horse almost as a form of rebellion,
secretly training and taming it late at night after dear old Dad is in
bed. In the book, Flicka and Katy's relationship takes front and
center. In the film, it's really just a catalyst for teenage angst.
Before long Katy and her horse are in all kinds of trouble because of
course, parents just don't understand.
The fractured relationship between Katy and her family works because
the actors involved bring something to it. Lohan doesn't look the part,
but she's still a fantastic actress, McGraw's awkwardness with acting
actually works for his uncomfortable relationship with his daughter,
and Maria Bello radiates strength and warmth as Katy's mother. Their
voice is strong, they're just not singing a new tune.
That's OK. The real audience for this movie I suppose, is horse crazy
little girls who'll never pick up on most of the background noise of
family relationships cluttering up all the girl on horse affection
happening in the film. It doesn't matter how many times she's seen it
before, your daughter is going to love Flicka. If you haven't already
been indoctrinated by her with all the other similarly themed movie
material out there on this subject maybe you won't hate watching it
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