Horse Whisperer, The
Entertainment: +3 1/2
Acceptability: -1/2

Based upon the novel of the same name, some say the film version of this inspiring story is even better. An upscale family of three in New York City find their world torn apart when 13-year-old, Grace (Scarlet Johansson), is severely injured while riding her beloved horse, Pilgrim. Annie (Kristin Scott-Thomas), her take-charge mom, takes crippled Grace and the traumatized Pilgrim to Tom Booker (Robert Redford), a famous "horse whisperer" in Montana. The once outgoing Grace has become withdrawn and refuses to go to school, and Pilgrim's hideous wounds have made him violent. Annie feels strongly that if Pilgrim can be rehabilitated so can Grace, and her husband (Sam Neill) reluctantly agrees to his wife and daughter traveling alone to Montana. A miracle happens in Montana as Annie and Grace watch Tom slowly and patiently transform Pilgrim. The breathtaking cinematography of the majestic Montana scenery makes city dwellers yearn for the country.

But the story of restoration in THE HORSE WHISPERER will make audiences cheer and maybe shed a tear of joy. As the horse whisperer explains to Annie, he doesn't fix horse problems, but helps horses with people problems. Annie's marriage is on very shaky grounds, and her daughter seems to hate her. Tom's gentle nature and quiet self-assurance, along with the peaceful quiet of the countryside begin to mellow the aggressive New Yorker. She and Grace are both taken aback as they sit down to the Booker family dinner table and the blessing is said. The Bookers represent the heart of America in its most traditional sense of strong family values. When Grace and Tom fall in love, they do not commit adultery but share a few passionate kisses and one scene of them dancing is very sensuous. The PG-13 rating is probably based on the graphic, disturbing portrayal of the accident when Pilgrim and Grace are mangled by an out-of-control 18-wheeler on an icy country road. It is upsetting for grownups, and certainly would be for children. Four obscenities and four profanities are the chief reason for turning away from an otherwise uplifting film about the importance of loving family relationships.

Preview Reviewer: Mary Draughon
Distributor: Buena Vista (Touchstone) Distribution, 3900 W. Alameda Ave., Burbank, CA 91521

Crude Language: Few (3) times - All mild
Obscene Language: Few (4) times - s-word 2, other 2
Profanity: Few (4) times - All regular (J 2, C 1, G's sake 1)
Violence: Few times - Severe (bloody, prolonged scene of truck hitting horse and rider; gory view of horse's mangled body)
Sexual Intercourse: None
Nudity: None
Homosexual Conduct: None
Sexually Suggestive Action/Dialog: Few times - married woman and divorced man kiss passionately; couple dances sensuously
Drug Abuse: Few times - beer drinking at barn dance
Other: None
Running Time: 160 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teenagers and adults

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