review for The Horse Whisperer on AllMovie

The Horse Whisperer (1998)
by Jason Clark review

Robert Redford's follow-up to his masterful 1994 film Quiz Show is a tasteful and enveloping romance that recalls the days of lush widescreen melodramas, and their ability to win you over with their grand gestures. Similar in theme to Clint Eastwood's The Bridges of Madison County, another modern film that dared to present a love affair between two intelligent adults, The Horse Whisperer takes its time to unravel over the course of nearly three hours, but presents enough honest emotion and cinematic splendor that it all seems worth the effort. Director Redford ideally casts himself as the rugged horse trainer, and Kristin Scott Thomas is equally fine as his love interest. The novel from which it's based (by Nicholas Evans) took its main storyline as an excuse to create soapy sentiment, but Redford wisely eschews this for a more serene tale. In a bold use of cinematography, the film (when viewed in a theater) opens up to a larger screen ratio when its main female characters reach Montana, creating an effective contrast to the starkness of its initial New York City scenes. It is inclusions like this that make the film so memorable, with the ability to steal your heart if you're willing to let it.