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The Horse Whisperer (1998)

Robert Redford , Kristin Scott Thomas , Robert Redford  |  PG-13 |  DVD
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (462 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Robert Redford, Kristin Scott Thomas, Scarlett Johansson, Sam Neill, Diane Wiest
  • Directors: Robert Redford
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Letterboxed, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Touchstone Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 10, 1998
  • Run Time: 169 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (462 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: 6305128952
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,060 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Horse Whisperer" on IMDb

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Academy Award(R)-winner Robert Redford (Best Director, 1980, ORDINARY PEOPLE) stars with Adademy Award(R)-nominee Kristin Scott Thomas (Best Actress, 1996, THE ENGLISH PATIENT) in this landmark epic adapated from one of the most acclaimed novels of our time! After a devastating riding accident, a young girl and her beloved horse are both left with serious physical and emotional scars. Determined to help, the girl's desperate mother (Thomas) puts her busy, big-city life on hold and travels west to seek out the "Horse Whisperer." When she meets this rugged, down-to-earth rancher (Redford), she discovers his extraordinary gift with animals also touches the lives of the people around him! Featuring Hollywood favorites Sam Neill (JURASSIC PARK) and Oscar(R)-winner Dianne Wiest (Best Supporting Actress, 1994, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY) in a superb cast -- critics and moviegoers alike were captivated by this powerful motion picture event!

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Although it's best viewed on a big theatrical screen to take full advantage of Robert Richardson's breathtaking widescreen cinematography, it seems likely that most people will see this classy romance in the comfort of their own homes. Adapted from the bestseller by Nicholas Evans and directed by Robert Redford, the film did respectable business at the box-office, but it was too sprawling and too soapy to be a bona fide hit. Redford stars as the title character, a Montana rancher named Tom Booker, who possesses the specialized talent of healing traumatized horses through careful and affectionate rehabilitation. He gets his most challenging case when he's sought out by a fast-lane New York magazine editor (Kristin Scott Thomas, in a role modeled after former New Yorker editor Tina Brown) whose daughter (Scarlett Johansson) was injured and traumatized by an accident that nearly killed her favorite horse. When mother, daughter, and horse arrive at Booker's ranch, the big-city editor falls in love with the serene rancher and faces the painful decision of whether to stay in Montana or return to her husband (Sam Neill) in New York. Some may find this to be much ado about nothing, and comparisons to The Bridges of Madison County are inevitable, but Redford's directorial approach offers the kind of graceful stature, tenderness, and intelligence required to elevate the simple story. The film takes all the time it needs to let its characters heal and make their important decisions, and that alone makes it a refreshing alternative to the frantic pace of most big-studio productions. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
90 of 95 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Heals the heart, strengthens the spirit. May 7, 2000
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
The Horse Whisperer is not a typical Hollywood movie. But then, none of the films Redford has directed, are in any way typical. The first time I really took notice of his work, was after seeing "A River Runs Through It". He had managed to tell a brutal, sad story in a mystical way that held me spell-bound.

Whisperer takes that feeling one step further. It will hold you and then squeeze your heart till the tears come. This is not a sad film however. It is the story of a spiritual journey that a family makes with the aid of a talented guide, Tom Booker, (played by Redford himself). Each of them takes their own paths but make it through some trying times, emerging stronger than when they began.

The story gets going as a result of a terrible accident involving two young girls who are out riding in icy, lightly forested terrain. The lone survivor, Grace, is traumatised by the loss of her friend, her foot and, in another way, her horse Pilgrim. Not that Pilgrim was killed, despite the wishes of the local veterinarian, but it was not the same, sane horse that it had been.

The normal tensions that existed within the family are magnified by the aftermath of the accident. Grace becomes withdrawn, suffering guilt and shame which show themselves in her bitterness toward her parents, Annie and Robert. At the same time she makes a connection between herself and Pilgrim. The horse's fate seems to be a grim portent of her own future; scarred, maddened and kept in a dark and lonely place.

Annie's desperate search for a treatment for Pilgrim is therefore very understandable. She hopes to build a bridge back to the world for her daughter, by healing Pilgrim. Here enters the almost magical legend of the Horse Whisperers.
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant visual artistry August 20, 2004
Format:DVD
Many have already addressed the plot of this film, so I will not not go into detail. However, I feel compelled to touch upon the visual storytelling in this film.

Movies are first and foremost imagery. As many legendary filmmakers have said, a good film can be watched with the sound turned off and still communicate every bit of the story and emotion through the images alone. This includes cinematography but goes light years beyond lighting and framing a scene. Each shot must be planned and designed, from sets to props to location scouting, from blocking the actors' movements to using color and shapes, textures, and spatial relationships. All these must communicate the text and subtext simultaneously.

I said all that to say this: Redford and his team blew me away with "The Horse Whisperer." The first act alone is filled with enough information in every corner of the screen to chew on for days. One example among dozens is the use of symmetry, parallel lines, and perpendicularity in the city scenes - even in the arrangement of books in the background, pens on a desk, or the window blinds in a hospital - to convey the superficially ordered control of Anne's life. This is contrasted with the organic sweeping curves of the farm landscapes where Grace's accident occurs. The confined spaces and straight streets of New York are gradually and gracefully replaced with the curves of the highways as Anne drives west until she reaches the Rockies in all their chaotically ingenious immensity.

And apart from all this, I was also deeply effected emotionally by this movie. Yes, it takes its time telling the story. But such stories in our own lives take time to unfold. And real, subtle moments deserve as much time to play out as they need.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Movie June 3, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
The Horse Whisperer is sucha beautiful film it takes your breath away. The film's stunning cinematography, it's awesome acting and great storyline make it a 4 star movie and one of the best of 1998.
Scarlett Johnasson is the star of the show, she plays 14 year old Grace, a horse-lover who has just had a terrible accident with her friend. Her mother (Kristin Scott Thomas) helps her daughter and her horse, Pilgrim by taking her to a 'horse whisperer '(Robert Redford) who can heal horses.
This is a very sad, beautiful and lovely movie and don't be put off by it's mammoth length (2 hours, 48 minutes) - to me it felt like 1 hour rather than 3.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars unwind in the Montana mountains May 29, 2002
Format:DVD
This is a unique movie from the millions of others out there. The plot starts with Grace(Scarlett Johansson) and her best friend meeting to go horse back riding and with Grace's mom Annie (Kristin Scott Thomas) working hard in her magazine office. When the girls are riding a tramatic and tragic accident happens causing the death of Grace's best friend and severe injuries to both Grace and her horse Pilgrim. Grace's right leg is severely hurt so they must amputate it. With her daughter becoming more distant from the family and Pilgrim becoming more afraid of humans, Annie is desperate to find relief or an answer somewhere. She reads an article about a horse whisperer named Tom Booker (Robert Redford) who heals horses. Anxious to give it a try, Annie, Grace, and Pilgrim travel from their home in New York to a cattle ranch in Montana and begin Pilgrim's healing process while Grace's father stays behind. What no one expected was the love situation that would come about when Tom and Annie met. Combined with a teriffic plot and the beautiful Montana scenery, this is definitely a movie not to be missed.
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