The Horse Whisperer ( 1998/ Drama/ Disney Hotstar)
Director – Robert Redford
Cast – Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Scarlett Johannson, Sam Neill, Dianne Wiest, Chris Cooper
Teenager Grace meets with an unfortunate riding accident which leaves her traumatised and her beloved horse, Pilgrim injured beyond recovery.
Her mother Annie, a go-getter by nature and a high profile editor by profession, believes that if she can somehow heal Pilgrim ,Grace would heal too.
She decides to seek the help of a horseman Tom but what she hopes for is uphill and near impossible.
There’s so much to love about the film, it is difficult to be crisp about it.
The very first thing that impressed me as the film starts is the camerawork. The angles and the shots are noteworthy. It is when the story shifts to Montana that the full blast of the cinematography blows you away. It’s not just the greenery, the vast expanses, or the picturesque landscape , it is the serenity of this entire setting that brings on an intense craving to get transmitted there.
The background score is so enchanting and in tune with the film, it surrounds your mood and ensures you stay in the frame of mind where it wants you.
The dynamics amongst the characters is intense and the dialogues are fodder for the heart and mind. There’s so much to observe in each of the characters, whether Tom or Annie or even Robert.
Each actor makes you sigh and adore the performances. Such is the appeal they infuse into the characters, you fall in love with them.
Haven’t seen many films of Robert Redford but, by now, I am sure he can make any character worth dying for.
As Tom, he lends such a grounded, quiet, intelligent ,dependable and loveable tinge, he seems just the kind of person who will sort it out for you or help sort yourself.
Annie’s fervour, impatience, the never-say-die attitude, her brave front while dealing with a bitter teenager, her hidden vulnerability and self doubts, her longing for Tom, have been portrayed radiantly by Kristin. Loved her to bits.
A young Scarlett Johansson delivers a noticeable, nuanced and natural performance, aptly described by Redford as “13 going on 30”
Sam Neill and Dianne Wiest had heft to their small roles.
Redford decided to tweak the original story a little and I am glad he made those changes. The restraint that he adorns his Tom with adds more allure.
The tranquility, serenity and pace of the country side, beauty of being close to the nature and Tom’s unique charm worked miracles for Pilgrim and Grace, makes Annie re look at her life and choices and effects you as an audience too. I felt bereft when it ended , the kind you feel when you favourite book or series winds up.
It is a story about perseverance, grit and resolve, patience ,love, tenderness.It tells us how sometimes slackening the pace can change perspectives and lives. It reminds us of the wonders of nature and its tranquility. Most importantly ,it is story about letting go and moving on.