First-time filmmaker Cindy Meehl’s documentary Buck follows 49-year-old real life horse whisperer Buck Brannaman as he embarks on an almost year-long series of clinics in which he acts as a motivational speaker, teaching attendees things that will “make you better in ways not related to horses.” He has a magical way with horses and a modestly authoritative manner when speaking about them. “Ain’t no difference between a horse and a kid” he’ll state as a horse follows him around like a dog, perfectly shadowing the speed of his varying strides. Meehl goes back in time to examine the equestrian expert’s abusive childhood as well as his training under the auspices of some of the great horse wranglers. Interviews with Buck’s family and The Horse Whisperer director Robert Redford testify to the cowboy’s talents and general goodness. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what made Buck the inspirational figure he is today, or what exactly makes him inspirational for that matter, but Meehl pulls heartstrings in her illustration of a friendly family man who can tame the wild like no other. An affecting portrait of one of the few modern American icons.
Buck opens today at the Ritz at the Bourse.