In FLICKA, a contemporary motion picture adaptation of Mary O’Hara’s beloved novel My Friend Flicka, 16-year-old Katy McLaughlin (Alison Lohman) dreams of fulfilling her family legacy by working on her father’s ranch in modern-day Wyoming. But Katy’s father (Tim McGraw) wants more for her, insisting that Katy go to college. Katy finds a wild mustang, which she names Flicka, and sets out to make her a riding horse. But Flicka and Katy are more alike than she could have imagined. Like Katy, Flicka has a disdain for authority and is not about to give up her freedom without a fight. The principal character in the book and in its two motion picture incarnations was an adolescent boy. But this new version tells the story through the eyes of headstrong Katy McLaughlin. Katy is enrolled in a private school on the outskirts of Laramie, Wyoming, but her heart is with her sprawling family ranch in the state’s remote mountain region. Katy returns home to the ranch, and soon becomes enamored of a wild mustang filly she finds in the mountain woods. She names the long-legged, ebony horse Flicka, or “beautiful young girl,” in Swedish. But Katy’s rancher father, the equally-willful Rob, sees nothing but trouble coming from the untamed animal and discourages his daughter from keeping her. Nonetheless, conflicted by a need to harness her own wild ways yet stay true to a free spirit within, Katy sets out to break through to Flicka and transform her into a riding horse. Despite her father’s disapproval, Katy goes on and forms an unbreakable bond with the wild horse. Her relationship with Flicka becomes a catalyst for change for the entire McLaughlin family, which is at a major crossroads: Katy’s dad is considering selling the ailing ranch, brother Howard (RYAN KWANTEN) wants to leave Wyoming for college in Boston, and her mother Nell (MARIA BELLO) is fighting to keep her family from falling apart. Can Katy ultimately tame her beloved Flicka and prove everyone wrong about the wild-hearted mustang? Will Rob find a way to support his daughter yet still keep her safe through this momentous life passage? And can the McLaughlins hold onto the ranch that they’ve worked so hard to maintain throughout a sea of social and economic change?
October 20, 2006