Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Michael Mayer|
|Produced by||Kevin Halloran
|Written by||Mark Rosenthal
|Based on||My Friend Flicka
by Mary O'Hara
|Music by||Aaron Zigman|
|Cinematography||J. Michael Muro|
|Edited by||Andrew Marcus|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
Flicka is a 2006 film loosely based on the 1941 children's novel My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara. The film is directed by Michael Mayer. The novel has previously been made into a film in 1943, and served as the inspiration for a 39-episode TV series in 1956–1957.
In this version, set in the 21st century, the protagonist isn't a boy, but a girl, played by Alison Lohman. The movie also features Maria Bello, Ryan Kwanten and country singer Tim McGraw, who also served as executive producer of the soundtrack album.
This USD15 million-budgeted film grossed $21 million in the United States theaters, and then it went on to become a surprise hit in DVD market in the United States; it made more than $48 million on DVD sales and more than $19 million on DVD/Home Video rental.
Katherine "Katy" McLaughlin (Alison Lohman) has big dreams of administering her father's Wyoming horse ranch one day, but her father, Rob (Tim McGraw), has other plans. He is currently grooming her older brother, Howard (Ryan Kwanten), to take over the ranch and sends Katy away to an exclusive private school where she constantly feels like a misfit. Being a similar, independent spirit to Katy, Rob is having trouble understanding his daughter as she continually defies his authority to follow her own path. When she comes home for the summer, Katy is met with her father's disapproval because she did not finish a writing assignment at school, but is happily greeted by her mother, Nell (Maria Bello), and Howard. As much as Katy wants to run the ranch, Howard does not, and instead longs to attend college. One day while out riding, Katy finds a wild mustang, and feels an instant connection with the horse. She sets off to tame the mare, which she names "Flicka", despite her father's protests that he does not want a mustang near his horses.
Later, Flicka is captured during a roundup. Rob still does not want a wild horse running amongst the saddle horses and asks Katy not to go near Flicka. Determined to prove she can run the ranch just as well as Howard, Katy defies her father and starts training the mare at night. Flicka slowly warms to Katy and the two developed a close bond. When Rob finds out, he sells Flicka to the rodeo, leaving Katy devastated. Both Nell and Howard are furious at Rob about making the decision without including them. Seeing his sister heartbroken over losing her beloved horse, Howard finally stands up to his father and says that he does not want the ranch. The family becomes even more divided when Rob refuses to take Flicka back. Howard and Nell refuse to help Rob with the ranch, which he is now considering selling since Howard does not want it. Meanwhile, isolated in her room, Katy starts writing about Flicka to try and escape her pain.
At the rodeo, Howard and Katy (disguised as a cowboy) enter the competition that Flicka is being used in, hoping to get the horse back. Not realizing who she is at first, the frightened mare runs from Katy until the girl calls her name. Rob, however, catches onto his daughter's plan and tries to intervene. Katy freezes at the sight of her father, but Howard boosts his sister onto the mare's back and lets the two escape. Riding Flicka, Katy becomes lost in the mountains, and allows Flicka, who knows the terrain, to make her way towards the ranch. Back at the rodeo, the family reconciles and begins searching for Katy as a fierce thunderstorm moves in. As they near the ranch, Katy and Flicka are attacked by a vicious mountain lion. The mare bolts, throwing Katy to the ground and the cat goes to attack her. Flicka protects Katy, but is badly wounded. The girl binds the mare's wounds and refuses to leave her. Already cold and wet, Katy quickly develops a high fever. After hours of searching, Rob finds the two and brings a delirious Katy back to the house. As her fever spikes dangerously high, Katy calls for Flicka as Nell tends to her. Rob thinks Flicka is mortally wounded and believes she should be put down, though fellow ranchers disagree. Overhearing the argument, a dazed Katy stumbles into the room and gives her father permission to "shoot us now."
Heartbroken by her words, Rob goes outside and begins to cry as he finally understands his daughter's feelings and her pain. Later, a gunshot is heard and Katy bursts into tears, thinking Flicka is dead. The next morning, Nell finds Rob walking back to the house, supporting the injured Flicka. She runs outside to help and finds out that the gunshot was him shooting at the mountain lion. Both are stunned that the mare is still alive and decide not to put her down. Katy's fever breaks and over the next couple of days, she begins to recover. As he watches over his daughter, Rob finds the story that Katy had been writing about Flicka and begins reading it, eventually typing the story and sending it to the school so that Katy can pass for the year. When Katy wakes from the fever, she and Rob reconcile and he takes her to see Flicka, whom Katy is shocked to see is alive. Rob also apologizes to Howard and gives his son his blessing. Thrilled, Howard begins preparing for college. As a family, they decide to not sell the ranch, making it both a working ranch and a refuge for wild mustangs.
- Alison Lohman – Katy McLaughlin
- Tim McGraw – Rob McLaughlin
- Maria Bello – Nell McLaughlin
- Ryan Kwanten – Howard McLaughlin
- Danny Pino – Jack
- Dallas Roberts – Gus
- Kaylee DeFer – Miranda Koop
- Jeffrey Nordling – Rick Koop
- Dey Young – Esther Koop
- Nick Searcy – Norbert Rye
- Buck Taylor – Wagner
Two horses died during the production of this movie. The first death occurred at Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley, California, on April 11, 2005 during a running scene. According to the American Humane Association (AHA), the horse broke its leg after a misstep and suffered a very rare injury requiring the animal to be euthanized. The AHA's report concluded that the "death was accidental and could not have been predicted or prevented."
The second horse died two weeks later on April 25, 2005, at the Hansen Dam Equestrian Center in San Fernando Valley. Reports from both the AHA and the Los Angeles Animal Services Department concluded that during the shooting of a scene involving four horses, one of them got loose from the cowboy who was holding its lead rope, and after having been running loose for some 20 seconds, the horse changed direction and tripped on the regulation length 13-foot lead rope and fell to the ground, breaking its neck and dying instantly. As the accident would not have happened if the horse had not come loose, the Los Angeles Animal Services Department concluded that the accident had been preventable. However, after an investigation, the AHA declared that the deaths were not the fault of the filmmakers.
A sequel to Flicka, Flicka 2 was released direct to DVD on May 4, 2010. Pre-production cinematography started in April 2009. The sequel bears an entirely new cast and character list and is not a direct follow-up to Flicka. Flicka 2 features Patrick Warburton, Tammin Sursok and Clint Black. The movie was directed by Michael Damian. Another sequel, Flicka: Country Pride, was released on May 1, 2012. With Damien returning as director, it also features Clint Black, along with Kacey Rohl, Black's wife Lisa Hartman-Black, Max Lloyd-Jones, Siobhan Williams, Laura Solties and Alexander Calvert.
When asked if the Flicka franchise could follow the Air Bud, Beethoven and Marley & Me franchises by having its animal star talk, Damien responded, "I don’t think so. But you know, never say never, because you never know what will happen. Stranger things have happened. I’m open to everything."
A soundtrack album was released October 17, 2006.
|1.||"4:35 A.M."||Gemma Hayes|
|3.||"The Things We Don't"||Watertown|
|4.||"Catch the Wind"||Donovan|
|5.||"Wild Horses"||Natasha Bedingfield|
|6.||"Weight of the World"||Chantal Kreviazuk|
|7.||"The Fireman"||The Dancehall Doctors|
|8.||"Where Did I Go Right"||The Warren Brothers|
|9.||"Rodeo Road"||Holly Williams|
|10.||"My Little Girl"||Tim McGraw|
|11.||"All the Pretty Little Ponies"||Catherine Raney|
|US Billboard 200||123|
|US Billboard Top Country Albums||27|
|US Billboard Top Soundtracks||6|
- Flicka at Box Office Mojo
- "''Flicka''s DVD sales". The-numbers.com. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- Flickas home video sales at Box Office Mojo
- American Humane Association FAQs: Flicka Retrieved 2012-01-12
- "LA Animal Services-Flicka incident report, October 2006" (PDF). Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- Armstrong, Josh. (September 5, 2011). "Marley & Michael Damian: Living the Puppy Years". KnowTheArtist.com. Retrieved June 21, 2012.[dead link]
- AllMusic review