Summer of the Colt
By Renee Longstreet,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Gentle Argentinian tale of family, horses, and growing up.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Introduces life on a ranch in Argentina, including kids' recreational pastimes, horsemanship, and family dynamics.
Recognizes the importance of open communication between family members and in friendships. Stresses the value of kids' access to parental figures and willingness of those authority figures to acknowledge their children's feelings and differing points of view.
Positive Role Models
Grandpa Federico proves to be a loving, reliable, and courageous surrogate parent. He is ultimately fair, open, and willing to admit past mistakes. The four children at the center of the story mature over the course of the film, learning important lessons about trust, unselfishness, and concern for others.
Violence & Scariness
A boy is thrown from a horse, hits his head. He is not severely injured, but some blood is shown. Horses being broken on an Argentinean ranch fall to the ground several times; ranch hands are seen using whips on the horses.
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Children fart, then laugh.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
An adult drinks wine at dinner on one occasion.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that although this quiet, character-driven film has not been rated by the MPAA and it is best suited for tweens, there is nothing that would be objectionable for general audiences. Subject matter includes such "growing up" issues as jealousy, feelings of isolation, and miscommunication. The action is limited to one sequence in which ranch hands roughly try to tame horses and another in which a boy falls from a horse and hits his head. One brief scene shows kids farting and laughing; another shows a young boy reading on a toilet as a natural life occurrence. A young teen girl matter-of-factly tells her loving aunt that she recently got her first period. The film is dubbed in English from its original Spanish.
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Where to Watch
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What's the Story?
Three children arrive at their grandfather's horse ranch on the Argentine pampas for their regular summer visit. Welcomed by their caring great-aunt, the affectionate family of the estate foreman, and their loving, but formidable grandpa (wonderfully played by Hector Alterio), the kids look forward to a magical summer. But events happen which force them to experience the pangs of growing up, the fragility of close friendships, and the changing dynamics between the people they love. An untamed colt comes between Grandson Daniel and his longtime friend, Martin (a very mature performance by Santiago Gonzalez Crende). Granddaughter Laura (Alexandra London-Thompson) forces her grandfather to come to terms with his past. And Phillipe, the youngest but perhaps the wisest, watches and listens, growing into his role as mentor and confidante to the others.
Is It Any Good?
The leisurely pace and relatively mild consequences of this simple, old-fashioned story result in a far different rhythm from most live-action American movies made for kids. No suspense or jeopardy; no outrageous, farcical humor; no technology; no heroes or villains -- just real kids in a loving family confronting issues and relationships that complicate life.
At worst, the English dubbing is awkward and intrusive. At best, wonderful shots of horses (specifically the bond between the colt and Martin), gentle moments played out between kids and grownups, and some fine performances combine to make this an enjoyable film.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how similar or different kids are in America and in Argentina. In what ways is the extended family in this movie like or unlike your own?
How did you feel when you watched the cowboys trying to tame the young horses? Is violence against animals different than violence against humans in movies?
How did Daniel resolve his feelings toward Martin? How do you resolve disagreements with people you care about?
- In theaters: January 31, 1991
- On DVD or streaming: May 8, 2007
- Cast: Alexandra London-Thompson, Hector Alterio, Santiago Gonzalez Crende
- Director: Andre Melancon
- Inclusion Information: Latinx actors
- Studio: Phase 4 Films
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Horses and Farm Animals
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: February 25, 2022
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