The Horse Whisperer

1998

The Horse Whisperer

Critics Consensus

It might be a bit too eager to tug the heartstrings, but The Horse Whisperer is typically graceful, well-crafted Redford -- on both sides of the camera.

74%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 57

72%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 51,515
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Movie Info

After her fourteen year old daughter suffers a serious horse riding accident, a high-powered magazine editor goes to Montana to bring the horse to a legendary 'horse whisperer,' a person with a unique gift of being able to cure troubled horses. Romance blossoms between the sophisticated mother and the gentle horseman, leading to wonderful and tragic consequences.

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Cast

Robert Redford
as Tom Booker
Kristin Scott Thomas
as Annie MacLean
Scarlett Johansson
as Grace MacLean
Sam Neill
as Robert MacLean
Dianne Wiest
as Diane Booker
Chris Cooper
as Frank Booker
Cherry Jones
as Liz Hammond
Ty Hillman
as Joe Booker
Jeanette Nolan
as Ellen Booker
Austin Schwarz
as Twin No. 1
Dustin Schwarz
as Twin No. 2
William 'Buddy' Byrd
as Lester Petersen
John Hogarty
as Local Tracker
Mike La Londe
as Park Ranger
Allison Moorer
as Barn Dance Vocalist
George E. Sack Jr.
as Truck Driver
Kelley Sweeney
as Nurse No. 2
Joelle Carter
as Officer Worker No. 1
Sunny Chae
as Office Worker No. 2
Joyce Anne Gilstrap
as Office Worker No. 3
Tara Sobeck
as Schoolgirl No. 1
Kristy Ann Servidio
as Schoolgirl No. 2
Marie Engle
as Neighbor
Curt Pate
as Handsome Cowboy
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Critic Reviews for The Horse Whisperer

All Critics (57) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (42) | Rotten (15)

Audience Reviews for The Horse Whisperer

  • May 09, 2019
    They don't make films like this anymore and that's the true shame here. This is a long sweeping movie with character and heart. Redford shadows the leading role, quite like he did with Out of Africa with Streep. I was surprised how carefully this film was constructed and it disappoints me that films of this genre are falling away from cinema. Beautiful DOP work and Redford behind the camera are amazing to watch. Great cast and storyline that doesn't drag, considering the running time. 04/05/2019
    Brendan N Super Reviewer
  • Jul 22, 2012
    "The Horse Whisperer" is a pleasant picture. Simple as that. The picture is simply beautiful in it's photography thanks to Robert Richardson who painstakingly showcases beautiful colors and awesome vistas amongst the plains. Without a doubt Richardson is the best cinematographer in the world today and in this film his talents really shows. Robert Redford starred and directs a simple cornish story that somewhat moved me about taming a troubled horse and healing two stressed out women who happen to be from Manhattan New York.I loved watching the country life and how Redford who plays as The Horse Whisperer Tom Booker was able to carefully tame the troubled horse Pilgrim and also heal two women from the busy city of New York and I loved viewing the family get togethers, praying before meals followed by telling stress free stories. I was impress just how warm and simple Tom Booker's family is to Annie MacLean (Kristin Scott Thomas) and Grace MacLean (Scarlett Johansson) who happen to be from the busy city of New York. My fav scene is between Redford and Scott Thomas when they look across from each other at a country dance hall and slowly embrace each other. These two simply need each other and it's astonishing how Redford and Scott Thomas set up the magic. Real chemistry. "The Horse Whisperer" is a very slow film and almost runs at three hours but I admired the story and the beautiful, stunning photography. This film might make someone from the city want to pack their bags and spend a great amount of time down in Montana. That is if one doesn't mind riding horses or enjoying the stress free ranch life.
    Brian R Super Reviewer
  • Jun 10, 2012
    Lets see... I enjoyed the acting - including a young Scarlett Johansson. The story is good. Scenery is wonderful. I took off a star as the movie was an hour too long - especially if you are watching it on TV with commercials.
    Red L Super Reviewer
  • Mar 23, 2012
    Somewhere, Robert Redford is probably whispering to himself, because he pretty much looks like a horse now. Many, remember when he used to be handsome and I didn't keep judging men by their looks? I certainly can't pull my usual "Scarlett Johansson's hot" exclamation to refill my man meter, because she was about 13 when she did this film, so that would be creepy, and plus, while she was kind of cute, you couldn't tell that she was going to look all that phenomenal when you look at this film. Well little girls, let that be a lesson that even if you don't look all that terribly pretty now, you could grow into one of the most attractive women on Earth... and I strongly emphasize the "could". Sorry to go shallow, gals, but I'm not going to lie to y'all; the chances of that happening are about as good as some adapting an Eric Roth script and not making it boring. Well, I guess that means that you should be hanging out with one of the three great directors that didn't make a terribly slow Eric Roth film, because it appears to have worked for the now lovely Miss Johansson. Yes, boys and girls the guy who was in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid", "All the President's Men", "Out of Africa"....... *snort* a-a-and "The Natural" (Sorry, I fell asleep there for a second) actually cracked the code to making a not-that-dull Eric Roth script, yet only rides that stallion for only so long before it goes back to limping. Roth's screenplays are often intended to be slow, but rarely dull, yet the type of meditation that he pumps into his work is so hard to do that, more often than not, the execution defaults to dry, and Redford manages to impressively work past the dryness, but only for so long. The film hits its share of rather dull spots, which is to be expected, considering that the storytelling is still so very slow in its pacing, and while that can work to great effect in some cases, typically, it only damages the film, and this film is no exception to that rule. With the pacing being so ridiculously slow, with few, if any jumping points, countless sequences and segments that run their coarse feel as though they're going on forever. I'm not making some kind of exaggerated joke when I say that Redford is introduced around 25 minutes in, yet it genuinely feels like we're nearing the 50 minute mark, and it's testaments to the pacing like that that really leave the film to lose plenty of steam, and while it's not like the later-to-be-done other Eric Roth-written film, "Munich", which is glacial in pacing and bone dry (Yet still pretty good; Sorry, but I'm a sucker for dramas, even if they do feature Eric Bana, who might be one of the worst actors alive), there's no getting around the fact that this is another Eric Roth screenplay that is not quite used to its full potential. However, as far as these spotty executions go, this is most certainly one of your better ones. Sure, it's not even mildly as good as one of the best Roth-written films, "Forrest Gump" or one of the best films... of all time, "Benjamin Button", yet what Redford lacks in comfortable pacing, he makes up for in sharp execution in almost every other regard of the film. While the opening is as slowly-paced as the rest of the film, I've got to give it up to Redford for nailing things right out of the gate, because this film wastes no time in presenting a challenge as part of the development segment: Pulling off something as potentially manipulative as one horse and teenaged girl getting smashed to death against a truck, while the other horse is left bloodied, busted and traumatised, with bones sticking out and flesh falling off its face, and the other teenaged girl is having to have half of one of her legs amputated. Just the fact that the leg in question will never get the chance to mature into the voluptuous puppy that adult Scarlett Johansson is sporting is tragic enough, yet Redford, against all odds, nails that scene effortlessly, portraying it with gritty realism and audacity, while making it still very disturbing, as well as emotional, without getting manipulative, and just like that, you're hooked. After that, the film goes up and down and quality, yet is never not compelling, keeping you engaged through all of the major slow-downs, as well as the occasional dull spot, partially because Eric Roth's... oh, and Richard LaGravenese's (Sorry buddy, but you're working with Eric Roth, so good luck getting noticed) screenplay, while not glowing, is still fairly tight, and while the execution is looser than the brain of those two guys that fought Max Baer (Look it up, it's pretty depressing; Poor Jethro's dad) in atmosphere, Redford manages to translate enough of the intrigue and sparkling charm within the duo's script for you to find yourself attached. If no other Robert behind the camera attracts your attention, then it's Robert Richardson, who might be one of the greatest cinematographers to ever pick up a camera, and sure enough, while this film doesn't bounce off the screen as much as Richardson's usual projects, the film is beautifully saturated in a fashion that's truly awe-inspiring, though not overbearing in its being so constant. Still, even if the lighting of the cinematography was too much (All might Robert Richardson, forgive me for my blasphemy), you would still find yourself pulled down to the film's level of substance, placed there not only by Redford's offscreen skill, but onscreen charisma, yet what really delivers on the humanity are the performances by the true centers of this story: Kristin Scott Thomas and then-up-and-coming Scarlett Johansson. It's not brought up very often, because now, she's become such an absolute bombshell and admittedly bombed in "The Spirit", but when you step back, Scarlett Johansson is not simply the last classic-style starlette, but a fine example of the modern, wildly talented actress, even when she was just 13, when she gave a very down-to-earth and charming, yet at times heartbreakingly emotional performance that was matched only by Kristin Scott Thomas' very believable and emotional portrayal of a woman seeking some form of relief in a life all but destroyed by tragedy. Watching these two actresses deliver such moving performances with such skill has got to be one of the most compelling aspects of this flawed, yet thoroughly engaging film, which is saying quite a bit. At the end of this slow ride (Take it easy! Sorry, but I just had to), the film isn't quite as impacting as it should be, being held back by a glacial pacing that sometimes drags the film into dullness, yet what triumphs in the end is Robert Redford's ability to extract consistent compellingness, charm and intrigue from Eric Roth's and Richard LaGravenese's gripping script, and with that appeal being supplemented by Robert Richardson's beautiful cinematography, as well as a pair of particularly remarkable performances by Kristin Scott Thomas and Scarlett Johansson, "The Horse Whisperer" is left a generally entertaining and thoroughly charming heartwarming that's ultimately worth the long-feeling sit. 3/5 - Good
    Cameron J Super Reviewer

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