Cinema Consults: SEABISCUIT

Physician's Money Digest, January31 2004, Volume 11, Issue 2

This film, which can be rentedfrom your local video store, israted on a scale of 1 to 4 caducei:

SEABISCUIT

Pleasantville,Spider-man

(2003): Now thatthe Oscar® buzz isjust starting to gainmomentum, you'llbe hearing the nameof this movie thrownaround quite a bit.Released as a summerepic, it's to itscredit that critics arestill talking about this film. This historicdrama depicts the legendary riseof famed racehorse Seabiscuit, whosesymbolic victories helped inspire aDepression-entrenched 1930's America.What's interesting about this filmis that it makes a conscious effort toemphasize its historic backdrop byincluding historic photos and detailinghow each character is affected bythe Depression. It also takes somechances (and succeeds) with its cinematographyand pacing of the plot'sprogression. The racing scenes areintense and brilliantly shot. I also applaudTobey Maguire (jockey RedPollard) for taking on a role that isso different from his usual squeakyclean cinematic persona (eg, ). This moviehas all of the elements for cinematicsuccess, but I still left the theatredisappointed. I think director GaryRoss could have held back a bit onthe sentimentality. The rest of thefilm is raw and unflinching, only toend in unquestioned triumph. Thismovie deserves a more sober andreflective ending.

Rating: 2 1/2

Lisa A. Tomaszewski, managing editorof Physician's Money Digest, is currentlyworking on her PhD in literature atDrew University in New Jersey. She isan avid fan of film and has taught asummer film course at FairleighDickinson University. She welcomesquestions, comments, or suggestions forfuture film reviews at 732-656-1140ext 195 or ltomaszewski@mwc.com.