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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Viewers will learn a bit about horse stunt performers, as well as lessons in friendship and teamwork.
Encourages courage, perseverance, teamwork. Also presents the importance of strong relationships with friends and open conversations with parents. Love of animals is also a major theme.
Positive Role Models
Lucky and her friends are strong, brave, supportive. They're also impetuous and make iffy choices (like running away from home and not telling their parents) that land them in dangerous situations. But their motives are positive: to help Lucky and keep their friends safe. The group of friends is diverse, but there's no mention of the role of gender or race in context of time period the movie takes place in.
Violence & Scariness
Lucky's mother dies during a stunt; not shown, but it's clear based on how audience reacts. A group of thieves is menacing, occasionally scary. Lucky nearly dies while riding Spirit. Some perilous jumps, situations. In a fight with horse thieves, the girls each have to use their rodeo skills to rough up men and even tie some up. Main thief kicks at Lucky and the horses, tries to shoot them. The girls outwit the thieves with help from their parents, who also take on the thieves.
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"What the heck," "crazy," "are we insane?"
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Products & Purchases
Nothing on-screen, but off-screen there are merchandising tie-ins, including apparel, dolls, toys, books, even special hairstyles at Drybar.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Spirit Untamed is DreamWorks Animation's reboot of their Spirit franchise (which includes both Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron and the popular Spirit Riding Free series). This feature-length adventure tells the story of how young Lucky Prescott (voiced by Isabella Merced) forms a bond with a wild stallion in the Old West. Expect scenes of peril, an early parental death (not shown on-screen, but characters react), and kids making reckless choices to save Spirit and other wild horses from a band of thieves. The young characters face close calls and near injuries, and they make some iffy choices -- like running away in order to help the wild horses. But ultimately the story affirms strong relationships, the importance of caring for animals and dear friends, and the need for open communication between parents and kids. The all-star voice cast includes Jake Gyllenhaal, Julianne Moore, McKenna Grace, and Andre Braugher. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Horse-loving kids will enjoy this predictably sweet story about a trio of plucky girls in the Old West who defy the odds to save a pack of wild horses. Directors Elaine Bogan and Ennio Torresan's tale is part origin story for Lucky and Spirit, part "road trip" adventure (if you replace "road" with "horseback"), and part obvious setup for more about Lucky, her newfound best friends, and their horses in the little town of Miradero. There's plenty in Spirit Untamed for kids to enjoy: the horses, the vast animated frontier landscapes, the girls' daredevil personalities (particularly Lucky and Abigail; Pru usually serves as the voice of reason), and the silly duo of Abigail's entrepreneurial little brother, Snips (Lucian Perez), and his pet donkey, Señor Carrots. The girls' friendship grows quickly under the circumstances -- and thanks to their mutual affinity for horses. And any movie that includes strong female friendships (that have nothing to do with attracting boys) should be applauded.
Parents, on the other hand, may find themselves slightly underwhelmed at aspects of the plotline, particularly the lost opportunity to address and provide context around the intentionally diverse group of characters. Lucky's Latinx heritage is all but ignored, beyond the inclusion of a few Spanish words and a couple of early conversations. That aside, the movie is fun for younger audiences, and it will remind viewers about the importance of forming close friendships and strengthening parent-child trust. Parents and kids alike should also dig the soundtrack, which includes Fleet Foxes' "Ragged Wood," Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams," and original songs by star Merced.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.