Coming of age story set in the mountain vistas, A headstrong 16 year old Katy McLaughlin desires to work on her family's mountainside horse ranch, although her father insists she finish boarding school. Katy finds a mustang in the hills near her ranch. Katy then sets her mind to tame a mustang and prove to her father she can run the ranch. But when tragedy happens, it will take all the love and strength the family can muster to restore hope. Written by
During production, one of the horses in the movie stepped on its own rope and broke its neck. See more »
During one of the first times Katy mounts Flicka to ride her around, Flicka isn't wearing a harness. Then there's suddenly a harness visible. See more »
Katherine "Katie" McLoughlin:
I live on top of the world... in the Never Summer Mountains of Wyoming, 8,000 feet closer to the sky. In my mountains when spring finally comes to save me from a perpetual winter, the world comes to life again and I remember what it is I'm here for. I'm the only daughter in a long line of ranchers and when we let our horses out for the first time every spring, I love to watch them rediscover the world. I can see in them an expression of my own restless spirit. Charged ...
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Because of the accidental death of two horses during filming, the usual disclaimer of "No animals were harmed in the making of this film" does not appear in the end credits. See more »
"Flicka" (2006) bridges several sub-genres, unfortunately it is one of the weakest examples of each. It's a horse movie (the original is better, as are "National Velvet", The Horse Whisperer" and for that matter most episodes of "The Saddle Club" and "Spin & Marty"). It's a "wild mustangs as a metaphor for the changing West" movie ("The Misfits" and "Billy Jack" do it better). It's an overwrought coming of age melodrama (countless other films do this better as well as most of the stuff you find playing on Lifetime).
It's also an Alison Lohman film and in all fairness contains one of her best performances. Lohman is always excellent and in "Flicka" she is given a lot to work with and handles it all quite well. However, the scripting and editing assembly work are so weak that her strong performance (and nice supporting work by Maria Bello and Ryan Kwanten) cannot turn this thing into a high quality film. You might notice that neither the two screenwriters nor the director have been involved in any feature productions since the release of the film.
"Flicka" was a major release (over 2900 theaters in the U.S.) and turned a profit at the box office. I credit shrewd packaging by the film's producers as they focused from inception on insuring that the project would be bankable. They incorporated elements that pre-sold the film beyond its target audience of pre-teen girls. Tim McGraw was cast to bring in his large fan base, Kwanten was counted on to draw a fair number of teenage girls into the multi- plex, and there were so few live action family films in 2006 that it was able to tap into an under-supplied market.
As for Mary O'Hara's beloved children's book (My Friend Flicka-previously adapted into two feature films and a television show, is credited), it would be more accurate to say "inspired by" rather than "adapted from". The original's ten-year-old hero has been changed to a 16-year-old heroine named Katy McLaughlin (Lohman).
I normally rant a bit when an older actress is cast as a teenager but Lohman is the Mary Pickford of her day and with her cute face and freckles still looks physically believable playing a teen. Her new look for the film, long curly hair-dyed dark, makes her look a lot like Kari Russell (insert "very Irish" here). In this remake it's totally Katy's story (in the original the parents had a more central role) and is told from her point-of-view. She even does a short voice-over commentary to begin and close the film. Normally this POV stuff leads to viewer identification and connection, but the scripting and directing works against Lohman and you stay distanced from her character.
Katy is mega-headstrong, uncomfortable and bored at her boarding school but at one with the wilds of her family's horse ranch in Wyoming. Her father is grooming Katy's older brother Howard to eventually take over the ranch, clueless about Howard's desire to escape and about Katy's affinity for the place. She is the chip-off-the-old-block, not her brother.
The title character is a two-year old black mustang mare that is a source of conflict between Katy and her father for most of the film. While the movie looks pretty the thin plot, the poor sequencing, and absence of "genuine" emotion" doesn't add up to a particularly satisfying viewing experience.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.
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