Film Review: Seabiscuit

With the voiceover starting out as a history lesson, the immediate impression of Seabiscuit is quite serious and authoritative. As it was based on a book about true events, the film can be forgiven for this unusual storytelling approach. It helps that the narrative and the actors are sufficiently engaging that the method is forgotten; what happens in the end is what matters.

Jeff Bridges is a millionaire who loses his son and is looking for meaning; Chris Cooper is a former mustang breaker, using his horse taming skills in the races; Tobey Maguire is a gifted jockey, who had to turn to backstreet prizefighting to make ends meet during the depression. They come together with the arrival of Seabiscuit, a small horse with no hope, and develop winning ways that bring hope to people who lost so much during that bleak period of US history.

Throw in William H Macy as a radio narrator of the races, and you have the ingredients for an inspiring tale of success in adversity, and of the little man (and horse) when down. Gary Ross uses some alumni of his also enjoyable Pleasantville to create a well-made film that leaves you with a smile on your face and the Capra-esque belief in something decent.

Rating: VID

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