Seabiscuit

Seabiscuit

Tobey Maguire
Director: Gary Ross Cast: Tobey Maguire
Tobey Maguire
, Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges
, Chris Cooper
Chris Cooper
Gary Ross

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse

An impeccably produced throwback to Hollywood's Golden Age (and one of the year's true sleepers), this superb drama is very much like its real-life equine inspiration: a little slow out of the gate but full of heart and great fun to watch. Based on Laura Hillenbrand’s runaway bestseller, this is the (mostly) true story of Seabiscuit, an undersized racehorse who became a symbol of triumph over adversity to Depression-weary Americans during the '30s and '40s. Owned by millionaire Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges), trained by former cowboy Tom Smith (Chris Cooper), and ridden primarily by emotionally damaged jockey Red Pollard (top-billed Tobey Maguire), Seabiscuit beat the odds time and again, becoming a champion even after being sidelined with a crippling injury, and ultimately making a fortune for his handlers. But this movie isn't just about the horse; it's about the three men who guided his destiny, men who weathered hardships and endured the loss of loved ones. Maguire is achingly vulnerable -- yet not always sympathetic -- as the half-blind jockey who never quite gets over being abandoned by his parents in the Depression's darkest days. Bridges, in his best performance in years, shines as the perpetually optimistic auto magnate who survives the death of his young son and the dissolution of his once-happy marriage to see both his business prosper and his racehorse become a phenomenon. Chris Cooper is nothing short of amazing as the grizzled old wrangler whose knowledge of horses is positively uncanny, and who laments the loss of his all-but-obsolete way of life. Writer-director Gary Ross limns these three characters in great detail, and the actors bring them to life beautifully. Carefully produced to be evocative of the period, Seabiscuit takes some liberties with the facts and tinkers with the chronology of actual events. But minor deviations from the historical record don't affect the fundamental truth that Seabiscuit was a remarkable horse who achieved fame in remarkable times, due to the efforts of remarkable people. Their joint success is no less inspiring today than it was more than a half century ago, and this movie is a loving tribute to that success.

All Movie Guide

Hollywood generally attempts to put its best foot forward on Oscar night. The academy traditionally selects as Best Picture a movie that people worked hard on and that will entertain the broadest possible audience. By that definition, Seabiscuit has all the elements of a nominee. Gary Ross has achieved greatness in practically all of the individual areas of production. The sets, the costumes, the lighting and the score have been lovingly crafted. The triumphant story of comebacks -- for a horse, for the characters, and for a country -- should appeal to anyone. The acting is top-notch. As star-crossed jockey Red Pollard, Tobey Maguire proves once again that he is arguably the best actor of his generation. There is a scene where he sees the horse again after both have been injured. He hobbles faster than he should to touch Seabiscuit and it is a fabulous piece of acting -- a perfect synthesis of physical movement, facial expression, and speech that makes the audience believe that this moment is happening to this character for the very first time. Chris Cooper is reliably wise and rugged as the mysterious trainer, and Jeff Bridges finds the perfect notes as both a gifted salesman and a grieving father. Even first time actor and respected jockey Gary Stevens manages to communicate a great deal about his character with very little screen time. While all of the excellent work in front of and behind the camera leads to some smashing entertainment, the film feels just slightly less than the sum of its parts. What it lacks is a sense of a personal stake from the filmmakers. They are making something from their heads and not their hearts, and while that does not diminish the achievement, it does make it something slightly less than art. Seabiscuit is old-fashioned Hollywood entertainment, in the best sense of the phrase. Perry Seibert

All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert

Hollywood generally attempts to put its best foot forward on Oscar night. The academy traditionally selects as Best Picture a movie that people worked hard on and that will entertain the broadest possible audience. By that definition, Seabiscuit has all the elements of a nominee. Gary Ross has achieved greatness in practically all of the individual areas of production. The sets, the costumes, the lighting and the score have been lovingly crafted. The triumphant story of comebacks -- for a horse, for the characters, and for a country -- should appeal to anyone. The acting is top-notch. As star-crossed jockey Red Pollard, Tobey Maguire proves once again that he is arguably the best actor of his generation. There is a scene where he sees the horse again after both have been injured. He hobbles faster than he should to touch Seabiscuit and it is a fabulous piece of acting -- a perfect synthesis of physical movement, facial expression, and speech that makes the audience believe that this moment is happening to this character for the very first time. Chris Cooper is reliably wise and rugged as the mysterious trainer, and Jeff Bridges finds the perfect notes as both a gifted salesman and a grieving father. Even first time actor and respected jockey Gary Stevens manages to communicate a great deal about his character with very little screen time. While all of the excellent work in front of and behind the camera leads to some smashing entertainment, the film feels just slightly less than the sum of its parts. What it lacks is a sense of a personal stake from the filmmakers. They are making something from their heads and not their hearts, and while that does not diminish the achievement, it does make it something slightly less than art. Seabiscuit is old-fashioned Hollywood entertainment, in the best sense of the phrase.

Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

1/2
The movie's races are thrilling because they must be thrilling; there's no way for the movie to miss on those, but writer-director Gary Ross and his cinematographer, John Schwartzman, get amazingly close to the action.

New York Post

A thrilling, beautifully crafted, fact-based horse story that's not merely the summer's finest movie, but may well be the one to catch come Academy Awards time. Lou Lumenick

Product Details

Release Date: 07/21/2020
UPC: 0191329143254
Original Release: 2003
Rating: PG-13
Source: Universal
Time: 2:21:00
Sales rank: 2,490

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