A different take on the rebellious child story.
No segment focusing on Mary O'Hara, author of the book My Friend Flicka.
Flicka isn't your typical teen rebellion picture. In this film Katy McLaughlin (Alison Lohman) has one desire, she longs to work on her families horse ranch. This makes her life tough because her parents both want her to go to school so she does. However, she can't really relate to what the kids around her are going through, simply because her goals are so much different. Then Katy happens upon a beautiful black mustang that she names Flicka.
Soon, Flicka ns to represent the kind of person that Katy is; a wild spirit that defies convention. Katy hopes that if she proves she can tame this horse (which has given everyone on the ranch problems, especially her father), she will eventually be deemed worthy to take over the ranch. All of this is fine if it goes according to plan, but life as never that simple and the McLaughlin family doesn't realize just how tough of a ride they are in for. Flicka features solid performances by Alison Lohman and Maria Bello and Tim McGraw as her strong, but different, parents.
Director Michael Mayer sits back and looks at this movie which is really nicely shot by J. Michael Muro. He talks about the subject matter (how that attracted him to the story), the actors, and just how much different Flicka was from his other film A Home at the End of the World. Mayer does a good job of breaking down the scenes, telling us how the action was shot but also trying to focus on the performances. Afterall, Maria Bello and Alison Lohman are two top notch actresses, and Mayer seems to have been well aware that it behooved him to utilize their strong talents.
Exclusive Music Video for Tim McGraw's Smash Hit "Little Girl"
They have put a decent amount of deleted scenes on this DVD and one can also listen to them with Mayer's commentary. At 95 minutes, I think that this movie is plenty long enough, but these scenes are interesting in that they seem to broaden all the characters. I listened to a little bit of Mayer's commentary and he talks about the character dynamics, and that he really didn't want to cut these scenes but they held up the story.
Bloopers and Gag Reel
The actors mess up their lines, come in at the wrong times, and play practical jokes on one another during the Gag Reel scenes. The Blooper section features the same thing and that is why these segments are together. These kinds of things are always fun to view, and even though the movie has an uplifting message, it's nice to see that there were moments of levity as it was being created.
Presented on a flipper disc this movie can be watched in Widescreen - 2.35:1 Anamorphic or Full Screen - 1.33:1. I watched this movie on Anamorphic Widescreen because I knew that there would be a lot of nice photography. Any time you get horses and nice pastures, you know you are going to have a film that exploits that. This film is at all times tightly composed and contained within it's environment. They aren't doing anything that really pushes the boundaries of the filmmaking medium, but for what it is this movie is a very nice spectacle.
Dolby Digital. English 5.1 Dolby Surround. Spanish and French Dolby Surround. Subtitled in English and Spanish. Close Captioned. The audio on this film was really good. I was surprised at how full it sounded on my 13" one speaker television. The soundtrack was big but it really went well with the rest of the images on the screen. While there wasn't anything that struck me as that different, this film's soundtrack does a very good job of highlighting the action and emotions taking place on screen.
Alison Lohman, Tim McGraw and Maria Bello are all featured in majestic fashion on the top portion of this front cover. The bottom shows us Lohman as the rides the horse who bears this film's title. The back shows Lohman on the horse, as well as a few more images from the film. There is a description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list and technical specs. While this cover isn't amazing by any means, it does have a bookish quality to it.
Watching this movie I couldn't help be reminded of an S.E. Hinton story with similar themes, Taming the Star Runner. Both Flicka and Taming the Star Runner deal with youth in rebellion, however they go about it differently. Hinton has always had a certain type of edge to her work, and that is probably the biggest thing that separates these tales. What struck me about Flicka, was how Katy doesn't want to get away from her family. She isn't bemoaning the fact that she comes from a horse ranch. As a result, this movie instantly shows you just how different Flicka is. (In Taming the Star Runner, the main character Travis ends up in a small town, but his biggest problems stem from an inner anger at the world in general).
All in all, Flicka plays things pretty much by the book. We know she is eventually going to overcome her obstacles, and we know that she is going to win a lot of people over. What makes this film work is that we are never entirely sure what this character is going to do, and like the exhilarating feeling of riding a difficult horse, that makes watching this character all the more fun.