Buck

(2011)

Genres: Documentary

Review: Buck

Transcript for Review: Buck

CHRISTY LEMIRE:
That’s a scene from our next movie, “Buck”…” a documentary about the real-life horse whisperer -- the guy who inspired both the novel and the Robert Redford film. Buck Brannaman is a lifelong cowboy whose horrifically abusive childhood gave him an empathy for other creatures -- especially horses.



Clip 2 -- Everything's a dance. Includes quote: "You know, a horse is pretty sensitive. A horse can feel a mosquito land on its butt in a wind storm."
 

But sometimes he runs into a horse whose behavior is especially unruly -- as he does in this dramatic example here. And he finds that the human, not the animal, is to blame.



Clip 4 -- Problem horse. Buck berates horse owner for having troubles in her life that led to this mess.



There's that famous line from "As Good As It Gets" where Jack Nicholson says to Helen Hunt: "You make me want to be a better man." This is going to sound corny, but Buck made me want to be a better person. He just oozes decency and grace from every pore, without ever taking himself too seriously. Director Cindy Meehl's film gets a little repetitive in the span of just 88 minutes, but it's such delightful, inspiring subject matter that I didn't mind too much. Thumbs up for me.

IGNATIY VISHNEVETSKY:
This film is unintentionally, hilariously campy. I mean…

CHRISTY:
Oh, you’re mean. You’re soulless.

IGNATIY:
I’m not mean. Not everything in the world can be reduced to horse based metaphors.

CHRISTY:
He’s hitting him on the butt with a flag that’s like life. Don’t be afraid of the flag on your butt, it’s okay.

IGNATIY:
How about when he says like, “Looking at horse is like looking at a mirror.” What does that even mean?

CHRISTY:
A mirror to your soul. I can see the instinctive nature between a person and animal being reflective of both innate nature. I can see that the way they connect spiritually.

IGNATIY:
Oh, no, no, this parallelism and this tendency to anthropomorphise the horses is really dangerous in some ways.

CHRISTY:
They have personalities. They have characters. The one, the really dangerous one at the end is unlike any other horse we’ve seen.

IGNATIY:
Look, I feel like this would have been a much better film if it had been made by someone who, who’s maybe a little bit less likely to go along with this guy’s entire stick.

CHRISTY:
Oh, It is worshipful of him. It does teeter on dignifying him.

IGNATIY:
It’s a puff piece. This a puff piece. And…

CHRISTY:
He’s a good guy. Why not celebrate somebody like this.

IGNATIY:
He’s a good guy who’s also kind of boring, and who thinks that everything can be related back to horses.

CHRISTY:
No, he has a family, he watches Oprah.

IGNATIY:
Which is constantly being compared to horses. You know, I wouldn’t be surprised if they’re like “Ohp, watching Oprah is just like riding a horse.”

CHRISTY:
No, he has a very full life and he’s a really interesting, complicated guy, and the fact that he took this horrific childhood and turned into something so positive.

IGNATIY:
Which he also compares to a horse.

CHRISTY:
He grew up as a cowboy. It’s all he knew.