Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Another must-see biographical film at Hot Docs, Buck documents the life of Buck Brannaman, the model for the character in the movie The Horse Whisperer.  

Calm, soft-spoken, with a wry sense of humour and a droll way of dispensing philosophical wisdom in his laconic drawl, Buck is acutely sensitive to the horses he works with, and passes on that wisdom to the many people who attend his 4-day clinics.  The degree to which he focuses on the horse is exemplified by this quote from the description of the clinic:  "Many people have questions as to just which class is right for them - and more importantly - which is right for their horse."  He recognizes that sometimes the horse's problem is rooted in the owner's problem, and tells the owner to look within themselves at those issues. 

Buck grew up with an extremely abusive father, whose abuse escalated after the death of his mother.  We read about how common it is for children who are abused to become abusive parents.  Buck veered in the opposite direction, towards a mild disposition, with a good dash of sensitive discipline thrown in.  

This film was the audience award winner at Sundance.  No wonder.

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