Certain films stay with you long after you finish watching them. They settle themselves beneath your skin, embedding their story deep within your psyche. They have a lesson to impart, and in the case of Seabiscuit, it’s that odds are there to be defied.
Based on a true story, Seabiscuit quickly became a box-office success, earning $148.3 million, featuring the acting gravitas of Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, Chris Cooper and Elizabeth Banks. You will be rooting for the flawed yet dazzling characters: for the oversized jockey, the undersized horse, and the bereaved businessman who brought them together.
This is a story of triumph against the odds. Following the titular racehorse who revitalised Depression-era US , it’s set against the backdrop of some of the most exciting on-track events in modern history. For those with an interest in horse racing, Seabiscuit’s name and renown are known even today. So too does the sport. It maintains its enduring popularity, with millions of bets laid each year. These are accepted both trackside and remotely, with online gambling having brought the event to a new and fresh audience.
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Even today, there is something gripping about the sport. That it has the ability to capture the imagination and take us along for the ride. Thrilling, exhilarating, and beautiful to witness, it cast the same spell in the 1930s as it does today.
It’s this that the film explores: the connection, both personal and public, between racing enthusiasts and the stars of the track. These incredible, exquisitely bred animals represent the very best of sportsmanship, and when they achieve incredible feats, we feel like we’ve won too.
Seabiscuit captures a sense of transcendence, embodied by a small but spirited horse who overcame the odds to become one of the great stars racing had ever seen. The film is carried by this charismatic character. Charting the horse’s life, from his earliest beginnings to his greatest triumphs, it follows the equine athlete through his many trials and tribulations.
But it’s not only the plucky horse at the center of this tale that brings the story to life. So too do the beautifully written human characters, each sublimely embodied by the actors and actresses chosen to play them. One of the film’s most moving moments relates to the tragedy that has befallen the hapless businessman Charles S. Howard. Equally unfortunate is protagonist Tom Smith (Tobey Maguire), an abandoned youth turned champion jockey.
Their tales are compelling, emotive, and they truly make us care – a feat very few films genuinely achieve. This combination of human emotion, brilliance and pluck elevates Seabiscuit to one of the greatest racing films ever made. Its impact will stay with you long after the credits roll.
Seabiscuit is available to watch on Google Play, YouTube and Amazon Prime.