As summer fades so do the weekly releases of romantic comedies, action flicks and gross out movies in favor of the more serious festival films and potential Oscar nominees. One such example is Buck, an award-winning (Sundance Audience Award) documentary on the life of Buck Brannaman, the cowboy horse trainer who inspired Nicholas Evans’ The Horse Whisperer and served as an advisor on Robert Redford’s film of the same name. Buck tells the story of a man who transcended an abused childhood as a rodeo rope trick performer to become a gentle empathetic horse trainer/psychologist who works wonders with his equine pupils with very little, if any, use of force. His methods speak more to the power of one’s essential humanity to communicate and lead than they do to horse training per se, methods that can be applied more broadly to how we humans relate to each other. The film is emotionally moving whether you have an interest in horses or not. If it comes to your local art house theatre, it would be worth your while to see it.

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