In this day and age of over-the-top CGI animation and stop-motion technology, how refreshing it was to take my daughter and her friend to a Saturday morning screening of Flicka. There's no CGI in Flicka, no nifty special effects, no cool characters destined to end up as toys in kiddie meals at your local fast food restaurant. Flicka is one of those family films I might have seen in my own girlhood: A simple story about a misfit girl, an unwanted horse, and a father who doesn't see that his daughter is more like him he wants to admit.
This adaptation of the 1941 Mary O'Hara book My Friend Flicka is an updating and reworking of the classic tale. The basic elements of the story remain the same, but in the 2006 version, the role of young Ken McLaughlin (played by Roddy McDowell in the 1943 version of the film) has become Katy McLaughlin (Alison Lohman), a high school student who spends most of her time at her stuffy Wyoming boarding school daydreaming about her family's ranch and horses. Katy, the only daughter in a long line of male ranchers, is a bit of a rebel; she doesn't finish her history final exam because she's convinced the teachers only want to her to parrot what they've taught in class, not hear what she really thinks. Unfortunately, Katy's failure to pass the exam means the headmaster wants her to repeat the entire year -- and with her family already sacrificing financially to send her to a private school, this is bad news.