The MPAA rated Seabiscuit (2003) PG-13
for some sexual situations and violent sports related images.
Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges) is a man who believes in second
chances. Lucky for him, because life deals this smooth-tongued
entrepreneur one bad hand after another. Despite his consummate
skills as a salesman, he cant talk his way out of the
devastating results of a serious car accident, a strained
marriage or the financial woes of the Depression. It is solely
his faith in the future that keeps him going.
After the business market stalls, Charles, a car lot owner,
and his wife, Marcela (Elizabeth Banks), decide to invest
in racehorses. But putting together a stable of good racing
stock, first-rate trainers and capable jockeys on the California
coastline proves to be a challenge even for the optimist.
Scouring the options for a trainer, he finds Tom Smith (Chris
Cooper), a weathered mustang breaker with loads of horse sense
literally camped out in the bush behind the barns. Later Red
Pollard (Tobey Maguire), a feisty former boxer with emotional
scars and a blind spot, joins them as a jockey. But Charles
takes on his biggest reclamation project when he lets Tom
talk him into buying an ugly, abused colt whose awkward gait
and nasty disposition make his present owner eager to be rid
Tempered by Toms gentle hands and unusual schooling
methods, Seabiscuit soon embarks on a racing career. Entering
one event after another, the undersized horse with the oversized
rider begins to make track history that amazes even jaded
journalists and a world-weary radio announcer (William H.
Macy) who has to eat crow when the long shot wins his first
race. But beating the ponies in the West is only a warm up
to facing the blue-blooded Thoroughbreds of the East Cost
racing establishment and their top-rated runner, War Admiral.
Based on the true-life events of the 1938 Horse of the Year,
the film initially jumps from one storyline to another in
an attempt to introduce all the characters. Once it settles
down, the script contains scenes of cigarette and alcohol
use by numerous characters including a soused jockey. Verbal
outbursts between owners and stable hands frequently include
profanities and athletes are subjected to racing related injuries
and beatings. One scene reveals prostitutes in lacy underwear
and brief back nudity along with some bawdy behavior when
the riders visit a brothel in a Mexican border town.
However, aside from these moments of content concern that
blight the film, Seabiscuit is a beautifully shot feel-good
story of redemption that will engage most horse loving teens
and their parents. During an era when the whole country longed
for a return to better days, this unremarkable horses
astonishing rise to fame lent hope to the downtrodden and
discouraged. It gave the country something to cheer about
in a time when almost everyone could use a second chance.