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Buck - Film Review

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by Dissa Ahdanisa (subscribe)
A newly appointed Sydneysider with enormous love to find unexpected things around the corner ;) Follow my photo blog at
Event: -
2011 - IFC Films

"I am not helping people with horse problems, I am helping horses with people problems"

This documentary is about Buck Brannaman, one of the inspirations of Nicholas Evans' book "The Horse Whisperer". It is about natural horsemanship, which Brannaman is most passionate about and it shows the connection between horses and people, which is often overlooked, even by the horse owner.

Growing up as rodeo stars, Buck and his older brother, Smokey, suffered from the abusive environment their father created. Buck, himself, admitted that although it seems like the brothers had a wonderful childhood as performers and TV stars, both of them were afraid of their father's firm hand. From this experience, Buck realises that violence is never the key, not only in relation to humans, but also animals, which successfully helped him dealing with the horses.

The documentary shows us Buck's life on the road as he travels around the country promoting the natural horsemanship philosophy. He stresses the importance of understanding the horse and being clear with one's affection and intention. He also presents the similarities of horse training and child rearing, where bribing with carrots will result to a spoiled, unresponsive horse.

The documentary also explores how to deal with fear, explaining that a horse naturally fears a human on its back, the same way as if jumped on by a lion. With his flag waving, rope tricks and some pats on the back, Buck takes away the horse's fear. As he says the issue with most horses can be tracked back to the owner; dealing with horses actually helps to deal with people better.

It is interesting that there is little mention of Buck's brother, Smokey. The documentary brings up how the brothers spent their childhood together, but it does not give enough detail regarding Smokey's adulthood.

However, "Buck" is a great portrait of Buck Brennaman's life. It delivers a strong yet important message on how affection and kindness toward animals is also applicable in everyday life with fellow human beings. More importantly, this heart-warming documentary is not only for the horse lovers, but also everyone else who believes in compassion, care, and of course, love.
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Why? The life of Buck Brennaman
When: From 16 February (AUS), 16 March (UK)
Where: In cinemas
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