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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Seabiscuit

Starring: Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges
Director: Gary Ross
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 140 Minutes
Release Date: July 2003
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Elizabeth Banks, Chris Cooper, William H. Macy, Annie Corley, Stephen Jared, Sam Bottoms, Peter Jason, Eddie Jones, Sean Keeley, Michael O'Neill

Review by Susan Granger
4 stars out of 4

"Seabiscuit" is one of the great American legends - and now there's a movie that does it justice. Narrated by historian David McCullough, it shows how - back in the 1930s in the depths of the Depression - a runty racehorse captured the country's imagination. Based on a book by Laura Hillenbrand and adapted into a screenplay by director Gary Ross, the story follows three damaged men who were rescued and restored by their faith in a down-trodden horse. First came owner Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges), a self-made San Francisco auto magnate whose son was killed an a truck accident. Then there was taciturn trainer Tom Smith (Chris Cooper), perhaps the original horse whisperer. Feisty, Shakespeare-quoting jockey "Red" Pollard (Tobey Maguire) completed the trio. Finally, there was Seabiscuit, a troublesome thoroughbred with fire in his eye. On one thing they all agreed: "You don't throw a whole life away just 'cause it's banged up a little." William H. Macy offers comic relief as a radio commentator. Jonathan Schwartzmann's cinematography gives you a thrilling jockey's-eye-view of the racetrack with real-life Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens lending authenticity as Pollard's buddy George Woolf.

"The Story of Seabiscuit" was filmed once before, back in 1949, with Shirley Temple and Lon McCallister. The only thing that version had in its favor was vintage newsreel clips of Seabiscuit racing War Admiral at Pimlico and then winning at Santa Anita. On the other hand, this "Seabiscuit" captures your heart. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Seabiscuit" races off with a thrilling, triumphant 10. Saddle up Oscar nominations for Bridges, Cooper, Maguire, supporting actor Macy and writer/director Ross. This is a crowd-pleasing winner!

Copyright 2003 Susan Granger

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