Jul 16, 2011
We also see some of Buck Brannaman’s remarkable biography, which is a study of human character with special attention to courage, endurance, and luck, as an abused boy comes out standing tall, on the other side of meanness.
Buck should be required viewing for all teachers—a refresher course on why they do what they do, even in the midst of a public with too many loud morons among the citizenry and politicians. Teachers might feel better if they can be coaxed to ponder the benefits of not just training and controlling youth, but also experiencing every student the way Buck Brannaman experiences horses. He too is surrounded by idiots (along with some awfully good people); he’s able to stay focused on the goal, which in many ways amounts to an escape from the idiocracy.
But I’ve I stopped too soon. Buck should also be required viewing for educational administrators. No, that’s too modest. Anyone who manages people or other creatures, or who simply lives among other beings, including skunks and cauliflower, must see this film. Moderation tells me to avoid claiming a movie might be the antidote to sociopathy and, at the other extreme, extreme isolation and loneliness. But maybe we just weren’t listening hard enough to the Other.
What do I know about the organism standing next to me? Might I be less boring, less aggressive and obnoxious, less isolated, less self-absorbed, if I wondered, harder, about what it’s like to be that Other standing two feet away?
What made him a Hater, a me-first hoarder? How can I coax him a few inches away from that, a few steps toward generosity? Surely not by imposing my will on him. Surely it will have to do with listening to what he does and doesn’t say—and thereby persuading him to listen to himself. Maybe a "horse movie" won't cure humanity, but a journey of a thousand miles, and so forth . . . .
All that is what Buck is about. If you’re thinking “touchy-feely Disney pabulum,” please reconsider. Although there is very little profanity, no sex, and only one scene with violence, there are some meaningfully tough moments; it’s a movie for adults, in the best sense of that word.
The handful of negative reviews I’ve read have said:
1. It’s too much about bromides for humans and not enough about horses.
2. It’s too much about horses and not enough about bromides on human issues (an assertion that’s downright dumb).
Perhaps you hear the contradictions and see that you need to make your own judgment. But especially if you love animals, you are deprived if you haven't seen Buck. It won’t hurt anyone, and it might enlarge some feelings you’re glad you have.