"Flicka" of hope for a good movie quickly dies

Oct. 23, 2006, midnight | By Amina Goheer | 14 years, 2 months ago

Classic girl-and-horse relationship is rendered lifeless

If you're not a perky seven-year-old girl, with ten of your giggly best friends all squeamish with excitement as you troop into the movie theatre to see ninety minutes of frolicking horses, turn around and run away from "Flicka." Right now. While you still have time. Please. For your own sanity.

Photo: Alison Lohman and Tim McGraw star in "Flicka," a film adaptation of Mary O'Hara's novel "My Friend Flicka."

But if you already paid eight dollars for the movie ticket, you are stuck with a weak film version of Mary O'Hara's beloved novel "My Friend Flicka." Katy McLaughlin (Alison Lohman) is a rancher's daughter whose heart belongs out in the wild with the horses. And it only gets worse from here. Katy's parents, played by country star Tim McGraw and Maria Bello, make sacrifices to get Katy into an elite boarding school in hopes of her eventually going to college. But of course, being the "free spirit" she is, Katy cannot give into the conformity of her school and risks being kicked out.

Scared to face her parents with the bad news from school, Katy goes riding early in the morning and chances upon Flicka, a black mustang, immediately feeling a connection. Of course. And naturally her strict father will not allow her to keep Flicka. Of course. But that connection between girl and horse surpasses all obstacles and in the end, it all works out. Of course.

The scenery, quite possibly the only half-decent part of the movie, is still not redeeming enough to pull the other aspects – acting, plot, script – out from under all the horse muck where they belong. Long shots of empty green Wyoming wilderness conjure up vague feelings of adventure some of us suburbanites may have hidden way down somewhere. But though the movie characters often find themselves alone in vast expanses of beauty, which should naturally lead them to a more contemplative mood, nothing can seem to get these dense characters to think above a fourth-grade level.

An altogether bland movie, "Flicka" can get lost in the uninhabited hills of Wyoming and no one would care. Unless you're that aforementioned seven-year-old.

Flicka (94 minutes, in wide release) is rated PG for some mild language.

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Amina Goheer. Amina Zainab, an amazingly beast brown-dancer, can pretty much always be spotted rockin a popped collar with old-man orthopedic shoes (but only with a matching ribbon in her hair). Amina religiously follows "A Prep's Guide to Life" (a Joamina production) and hopes to one day … More »

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