A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Flicka: Country Pride is the third family-friendly installment in the literary horse's film franchise. Like the previous movie, this is a direct-to-DVD release that centers around yet another teenage girl who bonds with the beautiful mustang. This is a wholesome movie that's a great pick for horse-loving kids and tweens; just be ready for a tiny bit of romance (two chaste kisses) and some mean-girl behavior that's sweetly resolved by the end of the movie. There are also several references to a deceased father and husband who died in a tragic accident, but the theme of loss is pivotal to the story, which teaches kids the importance of friendship and support during tough times.
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- Kids say
What's the story?
Stable manager Toby (Clint Black) arrives at the flailing Cherry Creek Farms with the thoroughbred Flicka to work for widowed ranch owner Lindy (Lisa Hartman Black) and her teenage daughter, Kelly (Kacey Rohl). The ranch's leading patrons are a well-heeled but snobby family that includes Kelly's rival, Stephanie (Siobhan Williams), and her best friend, Briggs (Max Lloyd-Jones). When Stephanie and her cohorts leave the stable, Kelly and Briggs recruit two misfits -- a polo player and a stable hand -- to join their team for a regional competition. As Kelly bonds with Flicka, her mother opens up to Toby, and both mother and daughter begin to truly heal.
Is it any good?
For a direct-to-DVD "threequel," FLICKA: COUNTRY PRIDE is actually much better than expected. The central actress, Kacey Rohl, is surprisingly good at conveying a sense of grief and Kelly's insecurity around her snobby former best friend. Unlike the Flicka 2 protagonist, who's a bit rough around the edges, Kelly is kind and loving and willing to see the best in people -- she just can't get out from under the weight of her guilt or her grief until Flicka enters her life.
The Blacks are an ideal choice to play a widowed ranch owner and a cowboy with the heart of gold. While Clint is a country singer, not a trained actor, he and Lisa have a believable chemistry (a good thing, since they've been married for more than 20 years!), and the part comes naturally to him. Although there are a few aspects of the story that aren't well developed (the teen romance isn't necessary, and it would have been great to get to know more about the quiet stable hand and Argentinean polo player who join Kelly's team), this is exactly the kind of uplifting movie that everyone in the family can enjoy.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about why horse movies are so popular. Which are some of the best horse films, and how does Flicka: Country Pride compare?
While many contemporary movies feature "talking" animals, this one focuses on a regular, non-speaking horse. Which do you prefer -- talking animal movies or more realistic animal movies?
How does the movie depict Stephanie and Kelly's relationship? Is it believable that friends who fell out of touch after a death in the family would turn into frenemies? Kids: Do you know friends who've fallen out with each other but then mended their friendship?
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