Touching Wild Horses

Touching Wild Horses is a moving account of the relationship between a boy and his aunt. Mark (Rendall) is sent to the remote Sable Island after a car crash kills his father and sister and leaves his mother in a coma. His aunt Fiona (Seymour) is a crabby loner who works as a naturalist, studying the wild horses that live there. Understandably, she is less than happy that her contented life has been interrupted by the arrival of a traumatised youth.

The basic plot is predictable enough- charming but damaged child melts the adult’s frosty exterior and they live happily ever after. What comes as a surprise though, is the touching relationship that exists between the two leads, and the relationship they each have with their natural surroundings.

Touching Wild Horses is not the sentiment fest you might suppose it to be. Yes, there is the obligatory death of a horse that evokes tears and pity and sadness. But instead of Fiona going all gooey eyed, we get a hard hearted response ‘Bad things happen’. This is why the film works- like the real world, shit happens and like the real world, they get on with it.

The film is beautifully shot, the remote landscape providing the perfect backdrop for Mark’s struggle to find out who he is and where he belongs. The characters are so well written that you feel a genuine interest in what happens to Mark, his aunt and the island horses. Because of this, we can just about forgive the over dramatized flashbacks and dodgy nightmares featuring ghosts. But only just.

Touching Wild Horses is a gentle tale despite some sinister undertones. The film doesn’t aspire to greatness, instead it is content to be a slow paced tale of discovery for the two main characters. A great Sunday afternoon flick, provided you don’t expect anything innovative.

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