If you have never been to Wyoming, the scenery in Flicka will take you there instantly. It is no wonder why Katy McLaughlin spends her time in boarding school dreaming of her family’s ranch, the walls of her school only capture her wild nature. Flicka is more than just a movie about a horse. It’s about a family and their problems of managing a ranch in today’s society and managing stubborn teenagers.
Alison Lohman plays Katy McLaughlin who returns home for the summer from boarding school after a less than stellar year. She and her father, played by a gruff Tim McGraw, butt heads over her attitude towards school and horses. Katy is obsessed with them. While out riding, she finds a wild mustang and falls in love. Just as if Katy had brought home her first boyfriend, her father objects and all teenage angst breaks loose.
With the help of the ranch hands and her brother, Katy begins to tame Flicka at night. When her father sells Flicka, Katy is heartbroken. However, the family snaps as her mother tries to protect her from being hurt, her brother stands up to the father and says he wants to leaves the ranch, and Katy concocts a plan to win Flicka back. As this is a PG movie, you can guess the ending, but the film is done with such style and class, that this reviewer admits a tear or two were shed. At the end, the ranch is safe, and the family grows closer even as they are spread out across the country.
The acting by Lohman is quality. As an actress she is usually cast in roles much younger than she is. Here she successfully plays a fifteen year old even though she’s nearly 26. It is rare that an actress can become a role this entirely. I never doubted the angst that her character portrayed. Tim McGraw and Maria Bello as Katy’s parents have a good chemistry with each other, and in one unexpected line dancing scene we see the lighter side of their personalities.
All in all, this is a good modern western, a great adaptation of a time adored book, and a wonderful family movie.
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