"A girl and her horse aren't enough for an entire movie."
When the preview for Flicka first came out I assumed it was another ‘girl in love with a horse’ movie. I will admit I have not read the book nor have seen the original film but since I am a girl who loved her horseback riding lessons I decided to give it a shot. However in the end a movie needs more to sustain it than just a girl being in love with her horse and Flicka has little else.When the preview for Flicka first came out I assumed it was another ‘girl in love with a horse’ movie. I will admit I have not read the book nor have seen the original film but since I am a girl who loved her horseback riding lessons I decided to give it a shot. However in the end a movie needs more to sustain it than just a girl being in love with her horse and Flicka has little else.
Katy McLaughlin (Allison Lohman) is a 16 year old from a long line of Wyoming ranchers. Her family has gone with out so that she can attend an expensive boarding school. But Katy would love nothing more than staying on the ranch. This becomes cemented when she finds a wild mustang in the mountains and claims it as her own. Her father , Rob (Tim McGraw), forbids this just as Katy christens the mustang Flicka.
The movie seems like it is a shadow of what it could be. Old Hollywood standbys are used for almost every character. Katy sees herself in Flicka and links their struggles together. She spends most of her time secretly training the horse only to have it taken away from her. Katy’s father tries to raise his children right while keeping up with mounting debts. Katy’s bother Howard (Ryan Kwanten) struggles with a way to tell his family that he doesn’t want to be a rancher. And Katy’s mom Nell (Maria Bello) does everything she can to keep the family and the ranch together. The slower parts of the plot are covered with a voice over expounding on the freedoms of the west and what wild horses represent
The actors give heartfelt performances but it is hard when all the characters seem to be ideas of people but not real flesh and blood. Tim McGraw is steadily building on the role he had in Friday Nights Lights and it is nice to see a softer, lighter side of Maira Bello after History of Violence and World Trade Center but both are forced to play tread water. The script written by Mark Rosenthal and Lawrence Konner (who also co wrote Mona Lisa’s Smile) has Rob being angry most of the time and Nell insistent that he not be. Allison Lohman (White Oleander) infuses as much spunk as she can into Katy but occasionally comes off as sullen since her dad is always yelling at her.
Containing the story is a landscape that is captured beautifully by cinamatogropher J. Micheal Muro. There are fleeting moments when you can feel what is must be like to ride a horse on the open range. But other than these few moments director Michael Mayer (A Home at the End of the World) has put together a film that is a bit flat. Not even the controversy of two horses dying during production could liven things up (the American Humane Society deemed the deaths an accident). However the target audience of tweenage girls just might go along for this ride. I’m just not sure that anyone else will.This movie might need to be put down - the jury is still out.