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Movie Review: Seabiscuit

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Nominated for seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, Seabiscuit is based on the inspirational true story of an underdog who rises to victory and wins the hearts and minds of a nation. Directed by Gary Ross, creator of such hit films as Big (1988), Dave (1993), and Pleasantville (1998), the film is a family-oriented form of entertainment guaranteed to spike your adrenaline level. With narration by two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author David McCullough, Seabiscuit combines the best of dramatic storytelling with the historical significance of a History Channel documentary. Based on the bestselling book by Laura Hillenbrand, it’s set in Depression-era America where an unorthodox racehorse named Seabiscuit captures the popular imagination of underdogs everywhere.

Seabiscuit follows the life of wealthy automobile magnate Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges) whose personal life disintegrates following the death of his son. Divorced, he meets his soul mate Marcela (Elizabeth Banks). The two get married, and Howard is soon infected with her love for horses. Searching for a new challenge, the Howards decide to purchase a racehorse. Immediately, Howard encounters Tom Smith (Chris Cooper), a man with an unusual talent for dealing with horses. Impressed with Tom’s expertise, Howard hires him to train a racehorse.

Letting Tom guide the search for the best horse, the two settle on Seabiscuit, a defiant and untamed free spirit dismissed by others as a lost cause. Soon thereafter, Howard hires the only jockey with the grit and moxie to handle Seabiscuit, Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire). With an undersized horse, an oversized jockey, and an unproven trainer, the three men combine to form the best race teams on the West Coast. In race after race, they capture the imagination of local thoroughbred racing aficionados. As the wins mount up, Howard decides to launch Seabiscuit on a cross country tour. His goal is to have Seabiscuit face down the best racehorses on the East Coast, and one horse in particular — the undefeated reigning champion and Triple Crown winner, War Admiral.

Leveraging the media, Howard maneuvers to create a Seabiscuit/War Admiral one-on-one showdown. But as the race nears, injuries to both Seabiscuit and Red force both man and horse to overcome the greatest of odds. Reaching deep within, each must summon the courage to rise to their respective challenges. And what they achieve is nothing short of legendary…

An inspiring tale of unyielding perseverance and tremendous courage, Seabiscuit is certain to stir emotions in every viewer. Knowing the film is a catalogue of actual events forces the audience to its feet in fanatical support of characters who, like each of us, may not always be the best or fanciest specimen in the race, but nevertheless press on with a “never quit” attitude. A story that embodies the best and most noble qualities of the human spirit, Seabiscuit is great entertainment certain to be loved by idealists from age one to one-hundred and one.

Britt's Rating: 9.7/10

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