Horse Girl (2020) Poster

(I) (2020)

User Reviews

Review this title
128 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
9/10
Not for those who like easy answers.
scoobyjack87 February 2020
Horse Girl is an achingly sad movie about mental breakdown. In the first act of the film, I found the character development to be beautifully executed and I was rooting for Sarah. I was hoping the film could turn out as some kind of offbeat romcom even though I had an idea we were in for a darker ride.

One thing I loved about this movie was that the focus was on just observing Sarah and empathetically inhibiting her mindset without judgment or explanation. I think this could be off putting for some viewers but if you're interested in psychology and how people work, this movie will be very interesting for you.

Personally, I think the overall message of this movie is that the mind of mentally ill person is not to be dismissed outright because their experiences will feel real to them, which is a very empathetic and true point to make. My favourite scene in the movie made this clear as Ethan told Sarah that he appreciated that the experiences she described were 100% her truth.

In the past, I think Jeff Baena's films have not gotten the credit they deserve but thankfully this one is undeniable and has received critical acclaim.

Lastly, I want to mention the acting. Alison Brie was the star of the show for sure as she created a believable character and she played both the small and big moments perfectly. Molly Shannon also managed to create a specific and three dimensional character with a short amount of screen time. I loved the scene where she tried to advise Sarah to put aside any negative thoughts, this perfectly satirised the well-meaning but misguided ally to anyone with mental health difficulties.

Overall, this move was really insightful. I'd recommend to anyone who likes a character-based film or who has a strong interest in psychology.
127 out of 147 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Really amazing film
Interestedviewer28 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I see that the people who have reviewed this so far haven't particularly cared for the film.

For me it was spot on. This is a story of a woman with schizophrenia. I am not a clinician, but I lived with a man whose mother and her family had a history of schizophrenia. He was always concerned that he would get the disease. And perhaps he was "fighting" it through the years. Maybe he knew it was there, but was successful in "maintaining".

We were together for 20 years and then suddenly he pulled away and wanted to have sex with other women. That is not the point. The point is he basically pushed me away. He had always said if he ever experienced schizophrenia he would kill himself. When he pushed me away, he told me if he couldn't have sex with other women before he was 55 he would kill himself. I left, in complete and utter sadness. I thought he was just rejecting me. But, several days after his 55th birthday, he did kill himself, 9 months after I left.

After his death, I was still the legal wife, so my daughter and I went to his home and it was an amazing wreck. This was a man who was always neat as a pin. There was no evidence that the person we had known had lived in there home anymore. He was a scientist and scoffed at tarot. What we found was that he had become a complete and utter follower of tarot and astrology. When he killed himself he left a very strange bag stating the wanted it cremated with him. The bag contained a tarot card indicating he had sailed off with his mother (who died from the disease); and other very strange what nots that he had never had in his possession, nor would have, prior to his change - when I knew him.

Ok, so about this movie. This is a story about a woman who is slipping away. She knows it. She knows there is a family history, and she is fighting to deny that she is headed that way. She becomes paranoid and it is difficult for her to distinguish reality from non-reality: "her dreams". Eventually, we start living her reality. We become as confused as she is. I've never experienced a film so viscerally, wherd I finally feel like I understand what my X had been going through. He knew he was losing it, he was fighting it, but not enough that he could admit it. And then when it became too far along, there was no one to help him out of his insanity. He was utterly alone. And so he completely vanished into it. He was no longer who he had been. His reality no longer existed in our realm.

Fantastic movie for me and for those, I perceive, who may be trying to understand what it is like for people we loved were going through (or are going through). It makes no sense, of course, because their reality is warped. And so death can actually be a relief and a next step.

I thank the director and writer who developed this film and carried this concept out to such an amazing level. Thank you for helping me understand.
173 out of 207 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
I liked it! But didn't feel finished
orindesmaele8 February 2020
I really enjoyed this movie, but when I got to the end I was surprised I'd already finished it because it felt like there was more to the story. It's definitely experimental, which I personally love. Some people feel Horse Girl is too weird or confusing but I think that's kind of the point, to make you feel like Sarah in a way.
43 out of 49 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
There is proof that she is not crazy in the very beginning if you look closely.
palangemusic-9763114 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I thought this was a great movie overall, an interesting concept and blending of genres. It's a unique concept and was executed very well.

It seems that many people think it's about mental illness, but there is one detail that they seem to overlook in the very beginning. If you watch the first few minutes, when they are talking about ancestry-like dna tests, you will notice that when the conversation concludes, Sarah walks away and Joan notices out the window that there is a horse in the parking lot - she catches just a quick glimpse of it and makes a strange face (about 2:30 into the film). At the end of the film when Sarah is walking her horse (which she took without permission) she walks past the shop and it shows the exact same frame and Joan's reaction to the horse being in the parking lot. (1 hour 35 minutes 45 seconds approx.) If you look closely the same cars are in the parking lot and you can also see Sarah standing with Joan proving this is intended to be the same scene as the one in the beginning. This would mean she actually did jump back in time.

To me this proves that she is not crazy and that it was intended to be a science-fiction film (time travel/aliens or unknown creatures, etc.)
51 out of 59 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Schizophrenia
rubendorren9 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
A very good portrayal of a woman having a severe schizophrenic breakdown, as viewed through her eyes. I did miss some of the drama and tragedy that you can find in movies like 'A Beautiful Mind' or 'American Psycho', but the atmosphere and visualizations were very well done. Also super performance by Alison Brie.
32 out of 37 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Watch it
faibischew8 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
It's a sad story about a schizophrenic woman. The disease progresses to a delusional state of total reality loss. Good portrait of a terrible mental condition.
31 out of 36 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Deliberately ambiguous to produce two films
f-ferguson9 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
There is the obvious film about mental health/trauma/genetic mental illness and the film about alien abduction with time loops.

Both films exist in Horse Girl. This is both clever and annoyingly manufactured. It just relies on what you want to see. If you are a big fan of horror or sci fi and used to watching these you will almost be pre programmed to focus on the more 'mysterious' angles imo.

For me, and where it is cynically manufactured, is the damage to the wall and roof of Sarah's car as well as the two scenes of the horse in the parking lot offer no real explanation or resolution and lean heavily into 'other' forces being at play. If these could be reasoned (they are acknowledged or experienced by other characters besides Sarah) then I think the "alien" theory could be written off altogether.

Clever.......but also feels like deliberate attempts to polute the narrative for that much wanted ambiguity. That seemed to be the main goal of the film. Ambiguous at all costs.

The film reminded me of The Innocents. Like that one I think people will argue over its meaning for years to come.

However, all that aside I enjoyed it and thought Brie was excellent.
26 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
The problem with letting the average person rate movies
johnnyneal1238 February 2020
People giving this movie thoroughly negative reviews for "not having a plot" etc are to be quite frank, dumbasses who need to hand the remote back to mummy and daddy. Sorry but if you want a neat little story with a bow at the end don't watch this. The film itself is not just a beautiful portrait of the journey into a a psychotic break, but gives the viewer the opportunity to experience for themselves the terrifying reality that those suffering from paranoid schizophrenia live with. The complete inability to discern reality from imagination, the paranoia and the need to create elaborate explanations for things that just don't make sense.

Also Alison Brie is amazing!
133 out of 178 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Quirky Indie Movie meets Surreal Odyssey
sara_shaw8 February 2020
"Horse Girl" is the story of a lonely, awkward woman who has recently experienced severe trauma and is struggling to deal with it without a suitable support structure. The dialogue here was not scripted out in advance; just a detailed outline from which the actors improvised their lines. There's a unusual feeling of authenticity because of it- not because it seems like a documentary (far from it!), but because in the midst of all the super-weirdness there are surprisingly human and relatable characters.

This is a quirky indie movie, but it's also an existential mediation; it's a bizarre out-there odyssey while also being a bedroom character study. How far you go with it will depend on your toleration for this kind of melting-pot of different genres. But if you're a fan of surreal films that grapple with the nature of reality and how we experience it, then, while you might not revere this as a masterwork, it's definitely worth your time.
35 out of 44 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
Beautiful Acting
Too-Tall-for-the-Desert12 February 2020
This is not a happy movie, but it is very touching. For me it is an important story about mental health. The main character is beautifully portrayed, really wonderful acting. Definitely worth a look in my humble opinion.
14 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Happened to me
65GTK9 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Awesome movie on many fronts. I get the schizophrenia angle and the quick descent into another reality, but the alien abduction angle is more believable. When I was about 8 years old, I had such a vivid dream where I was outside on our deck on a cold fresh night, unable to look up into the night sky due to a blinding white light above me. In my supposed dream, I had all my senses. I could feel the cold air, I could see my breath, I could see very bright white light everywhere. I could not move at all, or even yell or speak. There was a very loud noise around me and I could feel a strong breeze circling around me. Even my hair was blowing around with the breeze. Well that was the first of a series of dreams. About 4 years later, I awoke from a strange dream. When I looked at the foot of my bed, I saw several small grey heads looking at me. These things must be short because I could only see the tops of their heads and their eyes. There was probably 10 of them. They stared at me for a few seconds, then scurried out of my room. I've been telling my wife about these visions or dreams, but she only brushes them off, and she probably thinks I'm joking. She is a nurse at a psychiatric hospital so I don't really push this....lol The real interesting segments of the movie were the times she believed someone was thinking like her. I can relate to this as well. Can you imagine what it's like to conceal these abduction dreams or recollections and not being able to share them with anyone, for the fear that they will look at you as delusional and in need of mental health. Well those scenes were definitely the highlight of the movie and actually very tense. The scene where Sarah is at the cemetery with Darren to find her relative's burial plot so that she can extract some DNA to prove she is a clone is truly amazing and tense. When it all unravels that Darren was just agreeing with everything Sarah mentioned about clones and abductions just to bed her down, well my wife and I were holding hands because we did not expect her to take it well. We bought thought Darren was going to get murdered. There was another scene in the pysch floor where Sarah finally meets the 2nd person of her dreams. The scene reveals how Jane Doe was also abducted. The movie really was well planned, especially since it left me with questions about if Sarah was only imaging Jane Doe in the hospital. I will definitely watch this movie again and later decide if the abduction scenario or schizophrenia angle gets the nod. Meanwhile I will refrain from mentioning my own encounter with aliens to my family and friends, only because I'm certain everyone thinks I'm delusional...lol

Seriously speaking though, I do believe we are not alone in this vast universe.
33 out of 45 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Nice insight
mdanaher-708 February 2020
Truely interesting insight into the symptoms of schizophrenia when untreated. Was good to see from a females perspective being a mainly male diagnosed mental illness.
23 out of 31 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Divine equine.
Pjtaylor-96-1380449 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The trailer for 'Horse Girl (2020)' hints at the fact that it will, eventually, go off the rails. Still, it doesn't prepare you for just how far off the rails it does. I mean, it's bonkers. It's also brilliant. There are several layers to the oddly named piece, most of which coincide in a delicate concoction of in-the-moment splendour. Even if you don't quite comprehend what is happening, it's always strangely and certifiably compelling. The piece starts out as a quirky, endearing indie-drama-come-romantic-comedy but it soon slides, as if all at once, into a delirious, delusional descent into apparent madness. It doesn't spoon-feed you anything; you have to work to find its answers. Even then, nothing it provides is concrete - to the point that its seemingly more overt ending could still be a part of its alternate reading. This ambiguity works wonders, balancing frustration with fascination impeccably. The experience is incredibly unique and almost just as urgent. It feels like it's unravelling before your eyes, leaving you scrambling to pick up the pieces. The filmmaking is fantastic, especially when it allows itself to get properly bizarre. Its lead performance is pitch-perfect, flowing from awkwardly adorable to dangerously distressed seamlessly. Even if you can't quite align yourself with the lead character's increasingly intense disillusion, you still care about her a great deal. You engage with the almost meta mystery at the heart of the movie, always unsure of - and unconcerned with - its solution. It's difficult to describe to effect of the flick. It's odd and charming and abrasive and distressing all at the same time. It's remarkable, really. It may not be the most user-friendly affair, but it's a very rewarding one. 8/10
20 out of 27 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Hits a Core
cterryandjane9 February 2020
I was flicking through various platforms when I came across Horse Girl. Now I like psychological thrillers and I thought I would give this a try as it intrigued me. I was not disappointed. In a world where understanding of mental illness is often questionable and unfortunately too often treated as a taboo subject, this film addresses how completely some people can be taken away from reality even though they believe that everything that they are experiencing is real. Alison played her part very convincingly and I really felt for her. Maybe some of the supporting characters could have been a little more polished but the film really wasn't about them. I have known what the bond with a horse is like and it' understood even though most humans don't. Keep an open mind and try not to treat this film as just entertainment.
16 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
6/10
Felt slightly unfinished/incomplete. Maybe a short film concept instead.
the_hawk88 February 2020
There were a couple of well shot scenes. With spectacular "showing" and not "telling". The movie felt slightly underwhelming or incomplete. More like a short movie than a feature length. I liked the story concept and Alison Brie did well as a homely weirdo with crazy things happening to her. Worth watch maybe as an experimental viewing. It's on Netflix so you might as well. I am glad Netflix is investing in these movies. Keeps me coming back.
43 out of 65 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
Be prepared to relate to the main character's personal issues
nigelsmithson9 February 2020
There is a clear divide here based on the reviews I've read. The film has many supporters, almost as many detractors and not many in the middle.

Clearly, this is not a good watch for those who like plots served up on on a silver salver. Nor is it the typical teenage romcom where little is left to the imagination. However, I would urge viewers to look at it with an open mind and to try and understand the message that it is trying to convey.

I am by no means an expert in either psychology or psychiatry, but these are clinical fields in which the sufferer is often far removed from reality, but in their world they have THEIR reality. This is the point that has been sadly missed by those reviewers who accuse the film of having no plot, whereas it actually has two concurrent plots; one based on reality and the other portraying Sarah's decline into HER alternative reality. I totally agree that it does leave the ending somewhat ambiguous but so do many great films.......let the viewer use their own imagination.

I urge the detractors to watch it a second time with these points in mind. I did, and I enjoyed it even more that the first time around. Overall, I thought this film was well contrived and excellently executed.
11 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
5/10
Shame about the ending.
xdeschuyter-014108 February 2020
The film has potential with a strong lead, some good visuals and a nice soundtrack. The concept is interesting and to an extent, well represented.

Unfortunately all the supporting characters are... not great. Mostly by design, such as being almost deliberately stupid/negligent/ineffective in order to push the story in a certain direction.

What really ruins it however is the "make up your own mind ending" and the confessed motive behind it. Those two minutes completely nullify whatever was valuable about the portrait. Shame.
21 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
great film
gyanbasic8 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I felt all sorts of emotions during the film. The actress did a great job. I feel like if Reagan was not mentioned the movie would still get the point across but in a more subtle and intelligent way. aside from that i enjoyed it very much. I think people give too much importance to closing the story of all the characters. Whether on purpose or not the movie feels just as confused as the main character and thus to me nothing really felt out of place. It is a slice of life but mixed with a fairytale like, dream like experience.
21 out of 30 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
8/10
A lot better than the current 5,9 rating suggests
SeriousMayhem9 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
This movie deserves more than a 5,9. A lot more, even when it's far from perfect.

I usually don't include anything about the current rating or other reviews in my own review, and I really, really tend to avoid having to use the "you didn't get it" argument. But, in this case I'll make an exception.

To all the people giving this a low rating: you didn't get it. To all the people saying this movie was confusing: hello Sherlock, you still didn't get it. To all the people calling this movie dull and boring: you have the attention span of a goldfish, please find a movie that fits in your bowl.

With that out of the way..

What you can expect from this movie is a character driven story that spends a lot of time developing and it does so beautifully, believable and authentically. Good visuals and strong acting by Alison Brie only compliment this.

This movie isn't about the ending, but more about the journey itself. And quite frankly, I didn't find the ending nearly as good as the journey, even when it probably fits the movie quite well. You could even argue if it's an ending at all, because the movie leaves it up for you to decide. I'm just not really a fan of those.

The largest part of the movie is spent on showing us how everything unfolds for and around Sarah. It thankfully really takes its time showing her character, personality and development of both while dealing with her issues. And that really is what this movie is about.

When she meets Darren, things are sped up. His part in having to be the trigger to advance the plot/set certain things in motion for Sarah feels somewhat rushed and I had to suspend disbelief just a bit too much. I wouldn't have had an issue with an additional 30 minutes or so to flesh out this part a little better.

Another issue is that we're left quite a few loose ends. The viewer is tickled and teased with some mysteries that never get explained, again leaving it up for yourself to decide. Maybe that's intentional, but it's also cheap.

Alison Brie does an amazing job. The rest of the cast (sadly) is performing rather average, but not bad at all.

All in all, a very interesting movie, well worth watching if you enjoy psychological thrillers and/or character driven stories. Not without flaws. 8,5/10, not quite a 9, so an 8 it is.
12 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
An Invitation
rd-12 February 2020
A film depicting every-day life of mental illness, naturally, isn't for everyone.

Whether you are skeptical or compassionate to erratic behavior, you'll relate to character interactions throughout. Viewed skeptically, the film is a slice of life. Viewed compassionately, Horse Girl invites you to experience Sarah's reality.

(Reading further reveals narrative themes, but no "spoiler" plot details are revealed.)

The film narrates its own truths about mental illness (in order): family history, coping with loss, navigating boundaries, especially within double binds, processing trauma, faulty perception, dissociative episodes, irrational experiences intersecting with rational thoughts, paranoia, depersonalization. Horse Girl invites you to experience Sarah's truths, to find soothing and validation when support--both social and institutional--have consistently failed you.
6 out of 7 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Easily misunderstood movie
fred-m-stabs11 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I expect a lot of people who see this movie will have the wrong expectation of what it is, and what it's supposed to be, the result being that people won't like, or are just really confused by, this movie. I watched it without seeing any preview or knowing anything about it, and up until 3/4 of the way through I kept wondering when the paranormal / alien abduction action was going to start, and was annoyed at how slow the pace was. After I realized that this movie is NOT a thriller, or a dark comedy, or about paranormal anything, then my perception of the movie changed completely.

This is a tragic movie about a woman descending into severe mental illness with a complete disconnect from reality. I have not read anything about what the director/writer intended, but if this movie is considered anything else (thriller, etc.) then its a terrible movie. It may have a few lighthearted lines and amusing bits, but it is NOT a funny movie - its a depressing tragedy if you understand it.

The content about alien abductions is simply the subject of her mental illness. The reason the movie emphasizes it to the point that some viewers will expect something with aliens to actually happen is to show just how serious and real the main character considers these things to be. Overall, the reason the movie is so confusing and psychedelic is because that is the main character's new reality.

I had an old friend who I grew up with, who later in life lost their mind to mental illness, including hallucinations and disconnect from reality. I got to witness most of the events portrayed in this movie, of someone going completely "crazy", but I saw it from the outside (of their mind). This movie portrays the exact same thing, but from the perspective of the mentally ill person, and this is what was so brilliant.

Anyone who has ever seen someone loosing their mind knows that normal people are left continuously asking "Why on Earth would they do that? Why? What were they thinking?". After watching this movie, I now have a better understanding seeing it from the mad person's perspective.

Horse Girl: A brilliant tragedy about serious mental illness, seen from their own warped perspective.
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
This movie was a trip 🙌🏽🔥
etonyproa9 February 2020
If anyone wants to experience the feeling of having your brain hit by a bus while simultaneously feeling perpetually high go watch this AMAZING film *hand down*
7 out of 9 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
9/10
Amazing film.
zack_gideon9 February 2020
This movie is not for anyone who wants a beginning, middle and end. This movie is fantastic, if u love cinema where things don't always make sense.

The mind is so complicating I often find myself psychoanalysing what my life means and what I'm doing. This movie takes that concept but interjects it into someone with a mental disease. I've seen this happen, it's soul crushing. The honest truth is you'll never know what someone else is thinking. I weep for all the homeless people that have mental problems. California is so messed up no one even cares.

This film is amazing. I wish Gavin newsome or Eric garcetti would watch to understand how negligent they are to mental health problems in my state. So sad seeing so many mentally ill people being ignored. Breaks my heart. 9/10. This film is a phenomenal work of art.
11 out of 16 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
7/10
In our dreams we are convinced what we live is real... how far are we all really away from distorted reality?
Thatsthename10 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Interesting film. Worth a watch and leaves you thinking. You're very much brought into her world. The film gradually feels stranger, as does her world.
5 out of 6 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
10/10
Heartbreaking
erica-785-69252910 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
I know this was supposed to be a take on mental illness in somewhat of a light hearted way, but It made so sad. I felt just so sad for Sarah the main character! With that being said Alison's acting was superb and I had such empathy for her character throughout the whole movie. Mental illness is just so hard to understand, it just breaks my heart watching her spiral.
8 out of 11 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Permalink
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews


Recently Viewed