USA, Robert Redford (1998)
Pro: An interesting premise. A girl (Scarlett Johansson) and her horse are involved in a tragic riding accident that leaves them both physically and emotionally wounded. They find healing together on a Montana horse ranch run by a man (Robert Redford) with a special equine rapport.
Con: The lead weight love story. With zero chemistry between them, Redford and Kristin Scott Thomas, as the girl’s mother, embark on the obligatory romance that adds nothing to the story and only serves to derail the emotional core of the film each time they’re on screen together.
Pro: Chris Cooper, Sam Neill, Cherry Jones and Dianne Wiest co-star.
Con: Chris Cooper, Sam Neill, Cherry Jones and Dianne Wiest cumulatively have about 20 minutes screen time.
Pro: Chris Cooper as ranch hand.
Con: Robert Redford as Marlboro Man.
I know that it was based on a best-selling book, but I think The Horse Whisperer would have made for a better film if they’d ditched the love story, cast Chris Cooper as the “horse whisperer,” and focused more on the girl, the horse and the man with an intuition and compassion who brings the two back together as a stronger one. [***]