|Directed by||Michael Mayer|
|Music by||Aaron Zigman|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release date(s)||October 20, 2006|
|Followed by||Flicka 2|
Flicka is a 2006 film adapted from the 1941 children's novel My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara. The film is directed by Michael Mayer. A previous adaptation, directed by Harold D. Schuster, was released in 1943.
This time, the plot focuses on a female protagonist, played by Alison Lohman. In previous versions, the main character was a male. The movie also features Maria Bello, Ryan Kwanten and Tim McGraw, who also served as executive producer of the soundtrack album.
This USD$15 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.
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 for his daughter. 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 has a hard time understanding his daughter as she continually defies his authority to follow her own path.
When she comes home for the summer, Katy is instantly met with her father's disapproval because she didn't finish a writing assignment on one of her finals, but is happily greeted by her mother, Nell (Maria Bello), and Howard. As much as Katy wants to run the ranch, Howard doesn't. He longs to attend college, but has a hard time telling his father because he doesn't want to disappoint Rob.
One day while out riding, Katy finds a wild mustang, a beautiful jet black mare. Katy feels an instant connection with the horse, seeing she is just as strong and free spirited as herself. She sets off to tame the mare, whom she names "Flicka" (the Swedish word for girl), despite Rob's protests that he doesn't want a mustang near his horses, feeling it will cause nothing but trouble.
Later on, Flicka is captured when the family and their fellow ranchers are rounding up the herds. Katy is excited and wants to start training her. Rob still doesn't want a wild horse running amongst the saddle horses on his ranch and forbids Katy from going near Flicka. Determined to prove that she can run the ranch just as well as Howard, Katy defies Rob and starts working with the mare at night. Flicka slowly warms up to Katy and the two developed an extraordinary bond that moves everyone on the ranch.
When Rob finds out that Katy has disobeyed him again, he sells Flicka to the rodeo, leaving Katy devastated. Both Nell and Howard are furious at Rob, saying that they make decisions about the ranch as a family and that he went behind their backs by making one without including them, especially because he knew it was wrong. Seeing his sister heartbroken over losing her beloved horse, Howard finally stands up to his father and says that he doesn't want the ranch.
The family becomes even more divided when Rob refuses to return Flicka. Still angry at him for deeply hurting Katy and feeling betrayed themselves, both Howard and Nell refuse to help Rob with the ranch, which he is now considering selling since Howard doesn't want it. Meanwhile, isolated in her room, Katy starts writing about Flicka to try and escape her pain.
With the upcoming rodeo slowly approaching, Katy sees the opportunity to get Flicka back and enlists the help of Howard and his girlfriend, Miranda (Kaylee DeFer). At the rodeo, Howard and Katy (disguised as a cowboy) enter the competition that Flicka is being used in. Not realizing who she is at first, the 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, fearing she is about to lose Flicka again. Thinking quickly, Howard boosts his sister onto the mare's back and lets the two escape.
Lost in the mountains, Katy doesn't know how to get back home in the dark. Since she knows the terrain, Flicka slowly makes her way towards the ranch, carrying Katy on her back. 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 mountain lion. Flicka protects Katy, but is severely wounded in the process. Katy ties her shirt around the mare's wounds and refuses to leave her. Already cold and wet, the girl 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, hoping the fever will break. Rob thinks Flicka is mortally wounded and believes she should be put down. When his fellow ranchers refuse, knowing Katy will hear the shot, Rob decides to do it. Overhearing the argument, a dazed Katy stumbles into the room and gives her father permission to shoot the horse, saying "you can shoot us" as she cries.
Heartbroken by her words, Rob goes outside and sits on the porch, beginning to cry himself as he finally understands his daughter's feelings and realizes the amount of pain he's caused her. Later, a gunshot is heard and Katy bursts into tears, thinking Flicka is dead.
Early the next morning, Nell goes downstairs and sees Rob walking back to the house, supporting the injured Flicka. She runs outside to help and finds out that Flicka was standing when Rob returned and 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 slowly begins to recover. As he watches over his daughter, Rob finds the story that Katy had been writing about Flicka and begins reading it.
The next day, Katy wakes up and Rob apologizes to her for not taking the time to understand her and promises that things will be different. After they reconcile, he takes her downstairs and Katy is shocked to see Flicka, bandaged but alive. Rob tells Katy that Flicka is her horse now and that she will have to take care of her once she's well. Katy also learns that her dad typed up her story and sent it in to her school so she could pass for the year (if she wishes to return in the fall).
Rob also apologizes to Howard and gives his son his blessing. Thrilled, the young man 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. The film ends with Katy riding Flicka across the beautiful Wyoming landscape.
- 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
- Wade Williams - Man with Clipboard
- David Burton - Rider #6
- John O'Brien - Mr. Masterson
- Armie Hammer - Male Prefect
- Bob Tallman - Rodeo announcer
Two horses died during the production of this movie. The death of the first horse occurred at Big Sky Ranch in Simi Valley, California. E Online has reported, "According to the AHA's [American Humane Association's] report, a horse broke its leg 'after a misstep' and suffered a 'very rare' injury requiring the animal to be euthanized." The second horse died two weeks later on April 25 during the filming of an inherently dangerous rodeo event called the "Wild Horse Race". Animal injuries and deaths are common in this event. A Wild Horse Race is all about chaos in the arena. Once set in motion, there is no way to control it. According to Roland Vincent, the extra on the set who reported the death and was subsequently fired for it by Fox Productions, "The horses were absolutely terrified and were running for their lives. In the process, the horse tripped on its own rope, and fell down and another horse kicked him in the head, and that horse was in a spasm and died a horrible death." Furthermore, extras and bystanders[who?] who witnessed what happened on the set have gone public about it they said they punched them to make them perform.
After investigation, the American Humane Association declared that the deaths were not the fault of the filmmakers. However, the usual "No animals were harmed in the making of this film" statement would no longer appear in the end credits of the film.
A sequel to Flicka (working title: Flicka 2) was released direct to DVD in spring 2010. Pre-production cinematography started in April 2009. The sequel bears an entirely new cast and character list and is somewhat of a direct follow-up to Flicka. Flicka 2 features Patrick Warburton, Tammin Sursok and Clint Black. The movie was directed by Michael Damian.
A soundtrack album was released October 17, 2006.
- "4:35 A.M." - Gemma Hayes
- "Alive" - Becki Ryan
- "The Things We Don't" - Watertown
- "Catch The Wind" - Donovan
- "Wild Horses" - Natasha Bedingfield
- "Weight Of The World" - Chantal Kreviazuk
- "The Fireman" - The Dancehall Doctors
- "Where Did I Go Right" - The Warren Brothers
- "Rodeo Road" - Holly Williams
- "My Little Girl" - Tim McGraw
- "All the Pretty Little Ponies" - Catherine Raney
- Flicka trailer (Requires QuickTime)