Ahh, the crazy things you do for a girl.
Twenty years ago I was a young 20-year-old college student who had just asked a new girl out on a date. Shockingly, she said yes, and suggested we go to the movies. Being a gentleman, I told her she should pick out the movie she wanted to see the most. Unluckily for me, this was the same week
a little movie called “The Horse Whisperer” opened in theaters.
The film was directed by Robert Redford, and was based on the 1995 novel of the same name by Nicholas Evans. In the movie, Robert Redford plays Tom Booker, a talented trainer with a remarkable gift for understanding horses. He’s hired by Annie MacLean (Kristin Scott Thomas) to help her injured teenage daughter Grace (Scarlett Johansson), and her horse following a tragic accident.
One thing I have to admit, is that “The Horse Whisperer” had one hell of a cast. The supporting cast includes: Chris Cooper as Redford’s brother Frank, Dianne Wiest as his wife, and Sam Neil as Kriistin Scott Thomas’ husband, Robert. And in a very small role, Kate Bosworth plays Judith, Grace’s friend who died in the tragic accident which opens the film. Like I said, this flick had an impressive cast.
So what did I think of “The Horse Whisperer”?
Well, Let me put to you this way: By the time Robert Redford turns down Kristin Scott Thomas over the phone, I was already looking at my watch. During the trip Kristin Scott Thomas and Scarlett Johansson take to Montana, I’d gone to the concessions stand twice, and took the scenic walk back to my seat.
When I sat back down with my new bucket of popcorn, my date said to me, “Don’t leave again, it’s about to get good.” I wondered how she’d know that, and over the dinner later I found out she had read the book. But sitting in the theater that afternoon, I didn’t believe this movie was about to get any better.
Sure, the performances were solid. Especially by Kristin Scott Thomas and Robert Redford. And the cinematography was stunning. Montana is a beautiful place, and looked great in the movie. But as for horse whispering, as far as I could tell, all it involved is Robert Redford staring at the horse until the horse gets what Redford is trying to accomplish. And let me tell you, there are a lot of scenes of people staring at the horse.
But eventually the horse succumbs to Robert Redford’s charms, and so does Kristin Scott Thomas who ends up falling in love with him. I think she considers staying in Montana, but cooler head prevail. Redford even gets to Scarlett Johansson, who seemed to have a better relationship with his character than with her dad played by Sam Neil.
Clocking in at 170 minutes, “The Horse Whisperer” was a marathon of a movie. But as far as first dates go, it was definitely memorable. So was the first kiss that night when I dropped her off at her place. So while the movie wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, the rest of the date was.