Rated NR

This story (based on true events) about a condemned horse becoming a racetrack winner during the Great Depression stands as one of the year’s best films as of late July. Four distinct stories—that of a successful businessman stricken by tragedy (Jeff Bridges), an oversized, blind-in-one-eye jockey (Tobey Maguire), a down-on-his-luck horse trainer (Chris Cooper) and the legendary horse—converge for a great fable about comebacks and rising up against adversity. Director Gary Ross has made a beautiful film about horse racing and compelling human drama, with every performance being notable. Look for Jeff Bridges, in characteristically fine form, to be in Oscar contention for his moving portrayal of millionaire Charles Howard, a man with a soft spot for underdogs. Maguire is equally good as Red Pollard, having lost all the weight gained for last year’s Spider-Man. An all-around impressive film.

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