Time: 110 mins.
I don't always agree with making movies from popular novels. Some books just don't lend well to onscreen adaptations. Getting inside characters heads is a lot more interesting on the page than it can be portrayed onscreen. I did not read The Horse Whisperer, but I think Redford deserves a lot of praise for what must have been a really hard novel to adapt. This is a quiet story of survival, love and healing. Subjects that are hard to convey believably to an audience regardless of the medium. He does a wonderful job. Not once does he take the common road or squeeze the tears from a scene. Though I cried at certain points throughout this film, I did not feel pushed to do so. He truly captured the pain and emotions of these characters without making them seem trite or silly. I cared about what happened to these people, even if I didn't always like them.
The plot is fairly simple: A woman (Annie), her teenage daughter (Grace) and their horse (Pilgrim) travel to Montana after a tragic accident that leaves Grace and Pilgrim mentally and physically traumatized. They seek the help of a man known as a horse whisperer to heal the horse and make him fit for society again. In the process Grace learns to accept her damaged body and get back on the horse of life literally and figuratively. While this is going on her mother and the whisperer, Tom, fall in love. What else is there to do in the middle of Montana? I found that the love story was the weakest point of this film. Don't get me wrong, if I was in that situation, I'd fall for Tom too, but even though Annie didn't really love her husband anymore, that doesn't mean she'd fall for the first man she meets even if he did look like Robert Redford. Tom is a literate cowboy who speaks simple truths, but is much more of a mystery than he lets on. Many of Redford's lines could have been hokey, but they impart a genuine honesty and truth about life that you just couldn't laugh about. In fact, many of them made me cry. Tom loves his life and that's just very hard to resist.