Nelson Mandela, in his first term as the South African President, initiates a unique venture to unite the apartheid-torn land: enlist the national rugby team on a mission to win the 1995 Rugby World Cup.
It's the Depression, and everyone needs to hold onto a dream to get them through the bad times. Car maker Charles Howard is no different, he who is trying to rebuild his life after the tragic death of his only child and the resulting end of his first marriage. With second wife Marcela at his side, Charles wants to get into horse racing and ends up with a team of underdogs who are also chasing their own dream. The first is trainer Tom Smith, who has a natural instinct to spot the capabilities of horses. The second is the horse Tom chooses for Charles, Seabiscuit, an unconventional choice as despite his pedigreed lineage, Seabiscuit is small at fifteen and a half hands tall with a slight limp. But Tom can see something in Seabiscuit's nature to make him a winner, if only Seabiscuit can be retrained from his inbred losing ways. And third is the jockey they decide to hire, Johnny "Red" Pollard, so nicknamed because of his hair color. Like Tom, Red has always shown a natural way with ... Written by
Seabiscuit continually changes from a light honey bay to a dark reddish bay. He also grows and shrinks throughout the film, and his mane switches sides. A horse's mane falls to one side or the other, it doesn't change from side to side. See more »
The first time he saw Seabiscuit, the colt was walking through the fog at five in the morning. Smith would say later that the horse looked right through him. As if to say, "What the hell are you looking at? Who do you think you are?" He was a small horse, barely fifteen hands. He was hurting too. There was a limp in his walk, a wheezing when he breathed. Smith didn't pay attention to that. He was looking the horse in the eye.
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Unlike most people, I haven't had that many cases in which I didn't particularly rave over a good movie because it couldn't live up to the book....but that was the case here.
This is a good movie. I realize that, but Laura Hillenbrand's book, from which this movie is taken, is hands-down the best sports book I have ever read. So, I eagerly anticipated the movie. I found out what so many other people discovered when their favorite was made into a film: it can't live up to it. In fairness, no two-hour film can do justice to a good book.
In this case, there were many things the jockey, owner and trainer went through that made the story so compelling, and they weren't in the movie. I won't detail them. Just read the book. But you can't appreciate what these men and that gutsy racehorse really accomplished just by the film. It only scratches the surface.
I can accept those omissions because of time constraints but I cannot accept Hollywood inserting offensive language into the movie that was not in the book, such as a dozen usages of the Lord's name in vain, NONE of which was in the book. That's inexcusable.
The movie's strength was its beauty, just magnificently filmed. Man, this is a gorgeous film, from the first shot to the last. Director Gary Ross and Director Of Photography John Schwartzman put a lot of loving care into this film and it shows. The actors were fine, too. No complaints there.
If this film appealed to you, I cannot recommended the book enough. Please check it out.
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