A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
On their Wyoming ranch, daydreamer Ken (Roddy McDowall) tends to be forgetful of his chores and battles with his autocratic father. But at the insistence of his mother, Ken's father lets him choose a colt to raise --Flicka. Ken works hard to train Flicka, but after great progress, the horse falls ill from an infected leg. Ken's father insists Flicka must be shot to avoid further suffering. Ken refuses to shoot her, instead attempting to nurse her back to health. When Ken falls ill himself, his father cannot bring himself to shoot Flicka. As Flicka recovers, so does Ken.
Is it any good?
MY FRIEND FLICKA may seem too dated for children who aren't crazy about horses and willing to sit through the slow first half. Ken's touching battle to win his father's approval and save the life of his colt eventually gains momentum. The first half is very slow, with numerous shots of fields, horses, fences, etc. Parents may want to fast forward to when Ken gets Flicka – the action speeds up, and the divergent beliefs of his mother and father intensify. Ken's father is an exacting man who believes in breaking animals and punishing children, while Ken's mother believes that animals, like people, respond to love. In the end, love is what saves Ken, his father, and even Flicka.
British child star Roddy McDowall doesn't sound as if he belongs on a Wyoming ranch, but his portrayal of a boy who learns the importance of love and responsibility rings true. The movie is faithful to Mary O'Hara's book of the same name, at times picking up whole pages of dialogue. Older kids who like the movie may be inspired to read the book.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the genre of horse stories. Do these movies have a formula? For example, do many of them feature a horse who nobody else believes in but his young owner? Does the horse usually prove his worth? Is this type of film meant to make you feel a certain way? How did this movie make you feel?
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