Review of “Seabiscuit” (2003)


Courtesy of IMBD

Mimi Beringer, visual editor

This week I watched the historical sports drama “Seabiscuit,” which is based on the life of Seabiscuit, a racing horse who found unanticipated success during the Great Depression. Seabiscuit was thought to be a “broken” horse. He was a smaller horse and wasn’t as fast as top racing horses. He was sold to stable owner Charles Howard after his stable manager Tom Smith convinced him to purchase the horse. He became the top racing horse in the country after a head-to-head race with the top racing horse at the time, War Admiral. Seabiscuit’s jockey, Red Pollard, parallels Seabiscuit’s story of being an unsuccessful underdog, and, later in the film, both are injured at the same time. 

The beginning of the movie starts with the backstory of Howard, Smith, and Pollard and how they came to be involved with Seabiscuit’s racing career. In my opinion, the setup to the actual story of Seabiscuit was prolonged, and I would have much rather seen more of the racing career rather than the backstory of the characters. However, while the backstory took about 45 minutes out of the two-hour movie, I enjoyed the second half of the movie thoroughly. It was packed with horse racing action, the plot was clean and clear, and the story felt more like you would imagine it should be when you think about a movie based on horse racing.

One of the best, unexpected parts of the movie that I loved was the score, written by Randy Newman. Newman has received 20 Academy Award nominations, and 2 Wins for Best Original Song for his works from “Monsters Inc.” and “Toy Story 3”. “Seabiscuit” was lucky to have such a talented composer on their team, because Newman’s music encapsulates the ideal of the success of the American dream during the Great Depression.

Toby Macguire, who played Red Pollard, did a great job in his role of Seabiscuit’s principal Jockey. While watching, it was like you could really feel a connection between him and the horse. Jeff Bridges as Charles Howard and Chris Cooper as Tom Smith also displayed great acting in this movie as they exhibited the inner workings of the horse racing business.

I came into watching “Seabiscuit” with little knowledge about horse racing and what it entails. I found it interesting to learn more about it, while learning about the life and career of Red Pollard. This movie isn’t known for it’s perfect historical accuracy; in fact, they changed some of the timeline of events to make the story more dramatic. If you want to learn straight facts about Seabiscuit’s horse racing career, watch a documentary. If you want to experience a dramatic story about unlikely success during the Great Depression found through horse racing, watch “Seabiscuit”.