Making the Grades
Carrie McLaughlin (Tammin Sursok) is a big city girl accustomed to lots of independence and getting around on her skateboard. (She’s especially speedy if she can hitch onto a car’s back bumper.) Yet her whole world changes after her aging grandmother is deemed an unfit guardian.
Sent to live with her estranged father Hank (Patrick Warburton) in Wyoming, the urban kid is anything but pleased with her new rural surroundings. As her Dad has more experience with horses than children, he is inclined to keep Carrie as tightly reined in as an unbroken filly. And running away isn’t likely when the only transportation available has four hooves.
Feeling fenced in, the angry teen finds an unexpected kindred spirit in the form of a feisty black mustang. Along with a desire to break free, she and the mare also share a sense of homelessness. Flicka is obliged to accept Hank’s hospitality because her former owner Katy (Hank’s niece) headed off to vet school after her father (Hank’s brother) sold their land. (This explanation bridges this sequel with its forerunning movie Flicka.)
The unusual bond between the animal and the girl is further strengthened after Flicka steps between Carrie and harm’s way, leaving the horse with a leg injury. Thanks to some parental advice from a trusted ranch hand (played by country music singer Clint Black), Hank gives his daughter the job of caring for the wounded mustang.
This responsibility, along with a battery of chores (including shoveling manure, collecting eggs without arising the ire of a protective rooster, and walking a flatulent dog), begins to connect the city slicker with her foreign environment. Also helpful is an introduction to Jake (Reilly Dolman), a handsome youth hired on for the season, who offers to teach Carrie to ride Flicka.
However, the tendency to trespass their boundaries and rebel against rules continues to be a problem for both the miss and the mustang. Certain of these infractions result in the two being separated from each other. When further mishaps lead to threats against the horse’s life, Carrie is willing to take desperate measures to protect her best friend.
Like the Mary O’Hara novel it is based upon, Flicka 2 (releasing directly to home video) expresses a love for the amazing creatures that defined the American west. Beautiful cinematography frames this story which addresses mending hearts and repairing family relationships, while demonstrating that a wild spirit may be tamed—but should never be broken.
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Flicka 2.
Hank approaches Carrie the same way he would handle a feisty filly. In what ways is childrearing similar to handling horses? In what ways is it different? How does Carrie respond?
What is the difference between taming an animal and breaking its spirit? What do both Carrie and Flicka need in order to rein in their rebellion?
Click here to learn more about Mustang horses and their connection to America’s wild west.