Reviewed by: Ruth Eshuis
Honesty / doing the right thing / returning a runaway animal to its rightful owner
Friendlessness / lack of friendships
Being a good friend to those who need a friend
Missing a deceased parent
What should a Christian do if overwhelmed with depression? Answer
Perseverance / perseverance of the saints
Eccentric and overprotective mothers
Value of individuality / being content to stand out a little / our natural differences can help us to find a great place where we belong
Horses in the Bible
Kay Panabaker … Moondance Alexander
Don Johnson … Dante Longpre
Lori Loughlin … Gelsey Alexander
James Best … Buck McClancy
Sasha Cohen … Fiona Hughes
Whitney Sloan … Megan Montgomery
Joe Norman Shaw … Ben Wilson
Aedan Tomney … Josh Wilson
Greg Lawson … Miles
Tom Carey … Tom Wyman
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Orchard Park Productions LLC
Jordan Films [Canada]
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Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, a division of The Walt Disney Company
“Inspired by a true story”
This is a classic, high quality family movie about a girl and the horse she loves. Aimed at pre-teens and teens, it features a determined and vibrant young lady named Moondance (Kay Panabaker—“Nancy Drew”). Due to her short stature, simple clothing and awkward moments, she has been excluded and mercilessly teased by schoolmates led by Fiona (Sasha Cohen—“Blades of Glory” and a champion figure skater). Right when Moondance is struggling to cope with her friendlessness and missing her deceased father, ‘destiny’ brings to her a neglected horse which Moondance longs to care for and ride. Both she and the horse are mocked for being different, but with a little encouragement from down-and-out show-jumper Danté (Don Johnson—“Miami Vice”), their strong spirits may be able to triumph.
I don’t see any major concerns with this film. Generally, there’s great family values, and the main messages have to do with second chances and being content to stand out a little, because our natural differences can help us to find a great place where we belong, or to change an unpleasant situation for the better.
In terms of spiritual content, Moondance’s eccentric mother Gelsey (Lori Loughlin—“Full House,” “Old Dogs”) is into chi, tofu and Buddhism, but this is barely mentioned or seen. One art student draws angry demons, but no fuss is made of it. I don’t think kids would really notice the details or know their significance.
There are several issues to talk about with young viewers, though. One character appears to be over-using alcohol at first, and it’d be good for our teens to appreciate how and why he repents of that. Also, at the school many teens behave horribly to each other and only think about their looks and being ‘cool’ (don’t worry, parents—this is denounced and changes somewhat by the end). Another character is an excellent example of not biting back at bullies but extending kindness. And several times someone is distressed, and we may feel hurt for them.
What should a Christian do if feeling overwhelmed with sadness or depression?
Anxiety and Worry—What does the Bible say?
IMPORTANCE OF GRANTING FORGIVENESS TO THOSE WHO HURT US— In God’s sight, it is unacceptable for a Christian to refuse to forgive others. Remember the parable of the master who forgave a guilty man who owed him an amount so enormous that he could never hope to pay it back? The master completely forgave him. But, afterward, that forgiven man roughly grabbed another who owed him a very small amount, and allowed him no time to repay—showed him no mercy—and threw him into prison. When the master heard of this, he was FURIOUS and his punishment was swift.
In that parable, the Master represents God. And the forgiven man represents you—if you have similarly FAILED to forgive another, when Christ’s blood has paid your unpayable debt to God, and He has forgiven you for everything you have ever done wrong—and for your continuing failures to do everything that is truly right and good.
The main discussion topics raised are dealing with verbal bullying and exclusion, feeling different and giving second chances. Let’s remember and encourage our young ones that Jesus knows what it’s like to be insulted a lot (Luke 22:65), and He enables us to forgive even big and repeated offenses, because of God’s great forgiveness for us (Matthew 18:21-35). Instead of responding to mistreatment with mistreatment, we are to let God judge (1 Peter 2:23). Even so, bullying must also be reported to trusted adults (or even start with an emergency telephone counseling service) so that people can be protected and so the bullies get help to stop. It’s good to know that Jesus is always with us, even when we’re stuck, upset and feel like we can’t tell anyone—He is very loving and will help us somehow.
“I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears. My eyes grow weak with sorrow; they fail because of all my foes. Away from me, all you who do evil, for the LORD has heard my weeping. The LORD has heard my cry for mercy; the LORD accepts my prayer. All my enemies will be overwhelmed with shame and anguish; they will turn back and suddenly be put to shame.” —Psalm 6:6-10 NIV
The film may be too scary for small children, due to horse-related dangers, fear of unkind people and older themes relating to recovery from death of a parent. But it’s a beautiful film, extremely well made, very easy to get caught up in, has some great lessons and role models, and is definitely a tear-jerker!
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.