Metascore
65

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 9 out of 19
  2. Negative: 1 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Joshua Klein
    90
    With solid, stately acting, and landscapes that could convert atheists, The Horse Whisperer tugs heartstrings without seeming self-conscious.
  2. Mr. Redford has found his own visually eloquent way to turn the potboiler into a panorama, with a deep-seated love for the Montana landscape against which his rapturously beautiful film unfolds.
  3. 88
    A film as rich in its visual presentation as it is in its emotional resonance.
  4. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    80
    Directing himself for the first time, Redford has lavished his usual meticulous care on popular material that comes alive on the screen in ways that it never could on the page.
  5. A handsome and effective-if over-long-tear-jerker about thwarted love between grown-ups who should know better.
  6. 80
    The movie is not only a better version of the book, it's a work unto itself.
  7. 78
    A countrified, monolithic thing of beauty -- gorgeous to behold despite the fact that its overlong two-hour-and-45-minute running time plays off Redford's weather-beaten golden boy good looks far too often for its own good.
  8. 75
    Robert Redford has shown that he has a real feeling for the West--he's not a movie tourist--and there is a magnificence in his treatment here that dignifies what is essentially a soap opera.
  9. All the nuggets of spoken wisdom rattle around with a tad too much space and (at 2 1/2 hours plus) too much length.
  10. 60
    Curl your cynical lip if you want, but there's a place for heartwarming, life-affirming, even weepy dramas, and Robert Redford brings the best-selling novel about a traumatized teen and her wounded horse to the screen with dignity and restraint.
  11. Robert Redford, who for the first time stars in a movie he's also directed, has taken this soap opera material and treated it like something inscribed on yak vellum by the Dalai Lama.
  12. 60
    The sticking point of the movie is its exorbitant length: two and three-quarter hours does seem like an awful long time to patch up a horse, and a movie that goes straight for your heart should not be allowed to fester.
  13. There are times when this leisurely movie seems so much in love with its own virtue and nobility that there's not much room left for the spectator.
  14. Redford's storytelling skills aren't strong enough to make the tale appear as seamless as it should.
  15. It says something about this movie that Redford is at his most compelling playing opposite a nag.
  16. The film finally seems to stagger under the weight of its own significance.
  17. 50
    It's nothing more than a very long movie about someone, literally and metaphorically, having to get back up on a horse.
  18. 40
    The Horse Whisperer is just the latest example of tab-A-into-slot-B moviemaking to come out of Hollywood, a weeper that's built according to a solid set of rules.
  19. Reviewed by: Jeff Giles
    30
    It's punishingly dull for fully half of its two hours and 45 minutes.

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