Interview: Muscling Up
Unions: Thinking Pink
Bad Boss: Global Bully
Unions: National Focus
Economics: Friend or Flunkey?
History: Young Blood
Industrial: Living For Work?
International: Fighting Together
Poetry: Medicare Plus Blues
Review: Human Racing
The Locker Room
A New Mark for Labor
Bob Gould On Kicking The Liberals Out
Gary Ross' movie starts in a time when industrialisation is taking off and the fortunes of many a self-made business person is being made along with it. Bicycle repairman turned automobile entrepreneur (Jeff Bridges ) is enjoying life on the cutting edge but when the Depression hits he has hardships of his own to face.
Losing his son in a car crash his wife blames his focus on the material for killing their child and losing them their connection to the struggle that others are experiencing. He is left to face his pain alone until he meets a woman brave and insightful enough to crack through his thick defensive shell and reflect back to him the inherent goodness and kindness she finds there.
Though he no longer has the heart to continue his former vehicle enterprise, together they decide to take a punt on the races ... millionaire style. The pair go searching for a horse, a jockey and a trainer but what they come up with causes many double-takes and assurances they will fail.
As the movie trailer says, "the trainer is too old, the jockey too big and the horse too small." But that's only scratching the surface of these three lives that have been pushed to the brink and forced to live there until they barely remember another way.
The trainer (Chris Cooper) is an old hobo who many have deemed insane due to his disinterest in engaging in small talk with anyone other than horses and his penchant for sleeping under the stars. His motto, "you don't throw a life away just because it's banged up a little", virtually guarantees an adventurous ride for anyone prepared to give him a go.
When the entrepreneur meets the retired trainer and decides to take a chance on him the hobo's choice of Seabiscuit (played by soulful-eyed Fighting Ferrari) as the team's best hope raises a few understandable doubts.
As well as being much shorter than other serious racing contenders and far from pedigree, Seabiscuit harbours fearsome aggression and extreme mistrust of humans thanks to past mistreatment. But in the words of his new trainer, the secret of Seabiscuit is that he "just has to learn how to be a horse again".
Their search for a jockey is quickly narrowed to one rider (Tobey Maguire), a young man with hang-ups of his own but whose refusal to ever give up makes him one of the few brave enough to mount the kicking, bucking, snorting Seabiscuit. Too tall for most jockey jobs and too short for his failed boxing career, the rider's battle with his own demons in many ways mirrors that of the horse.
Seabiscuit's learning curve on how to be a horse again is just as relevant for someone experiencing long-term hardship finally rediscovering their passion for life.
This was the challenge for many contending with a life of struggle during the 1930's and it is also the common thread connecting each of the characters in Seabisuit.
The movie counsels that even when beaten by a nose one should never give up and that it manages to do this free of the usual cringe-inspiring corniness makes Seabiscuit a must see.
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