A Horse for Summer

Movie review by
Tracy Moore, Common Sense Media
A Horse for Summer Movie Poster Image
Faith-based film about rebellious teen has heavy themes.
  • PG
  • 2015
  • 96 minutes

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Honesty; forgiveness; community's role in helping those in need and in preventing crime; second chances; starting over.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Parents are engaged, present, hardworking, though one teen's mother is in jail for theft and breaking parole; pastor and community members are caring and involved without judgment; teenagers are realistically flawed; some are more dutiful than others, while one acts out because of her troubled family life. 


Some aggression when the mom is hauled into jail for theft; horse gets sick and is shown dying.


A married couple kisses on the cheek.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that A Horse for Summer is a heavily faith-based movie about a troubled teen who finds stability in her uncle's family after her mom goes to jail. There are some tearful scenes with her mother's incarceration and problems, some acting out including stealing money, a horse that gets sick and dies, and some fights and family conflict regarding paying bills, keeping kids in line, and honoring faith. Many scenes are in church settings or involve parents talking about how to stay afloat with financial troubles, so in spite of the strong messages the film is not likely to hold the attention span of younger kids.

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What's the story?

When Summer's mom is arrested again for theft and put in jail for an indeterminate amount of time, Summer is forced to live with her mom's brother Kent Walsh (Dean Cain) and his family until better arrangements can be made. There, Summer struggles to fit into their stable, Christian life, but when she sees how much the family is struggling to make ends meet, she resorts to a difficult choice to help them out. Soon, Summer and the family will have to learn whether there is any such thing as doing a bad thing for good reasons.

Is it any good?

A HORSE FOR SUMMER is not particularly well-acted, and the dialogue often feels overly scripted and heavy-handed in the portrayal of its redemption story. There are a lot of serious scenes about struggling to pay bills and some intense family conflict about the choice to allow a troubled teen into their home.

But for Christian families interested in redemption stories, there are a lot of positive messages here and at least one really intriguing, positive idea that could be worth the price of admission: the notion that a stronger community full of people who help those less fortunate without judgment or hesitation could help those struggling to make better choices. An incarcerated parent and a dying horse make for some intense scenes, though. Best for older kids.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about why so many movies about wayward teens involve working with horses to learn the value of hard work. Why do you think they're so popular?

  • Is A Horse for Summer an accurate movie about the work involved in caring for a horse? Why, or why not?

  • Is it ever OK to do the wrong thing for the right reason? If so, when?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horses

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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