FBMR - Seabiscuit
Film-Buff Movie Reviews

SEABISCUIT (2003) ***

My friend Mike told me, while reading a book on screenwriting, that by the seventeen minute mark, the introduction and set up should be done and the body of the movie should be in full swing. This movie took far too long to get to that “seventeen minute mark”. I think the actual story of the movie only started over a half hour into the film. It made me antsy. But once the story finally got underway, it was very good. It’s a classic story of how the underdog can overcome and triumph, even when thought completely impossible. Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges) is a Depression-era businessman who buys Seabiscuit, racehorse that’s too small … hires Tom Smith (Chris Cooper) a quirky, quiet trainer who’s too old, but really knows what he’s doing … and then Red Pollard (Tobey Maguire), a hot-tempered jockey who’s too big. Yet it’s the combination and chemistry and mutual respect of all four that makes this team great.

Chris Cooper stands out, as he often does. He is arguably one the most under-rated great actors of our time. His versatility continues to amaze me. He exhibits such quiet strength and compassion in this role. It’s a shame he is so often overlooked and unrecognized for his performances.

William H. Macy takes the back-seat but steals the show as the over-the-top radio sports personality Tick Tock McGlaughlin.

It’s a feel-good movie that can lift spirits that are down just as much nowadays as the real story uplifted the American working-class in one of their hardest times.