Charles Howard (Jeff Bridges) is a man who believes in second chances.
Lucky for him, because life deals this smooth-tongued entrepreneur
one bad hand after another. Despite his consummate skills as a salesman,
he cant talk his way out of the devastating results of a serious
car accident, a strained marriage or the financial woes of the Depression.
It is solely his faith in the future that keeps him going.
After the business market stalls, Charles, a car lot owner, and
his wife, Marcela (Elizabeth Banks), decide to invest in racehorses.
But putting together a stable of good racing stock, first-rate
trainers and capable jockeys on the California coastline proves
to be a challenge even for the optimist.
Scouring the options for a trainer, he finds Tom Smith (Chris
Cooper), a weathered mustang breaker with loads of horse sense
literally camped out in the bush behind the barns. Later Red Pollard
(Tobey Maguire), a feisty former boxer with emotional scars and
a blind spot, joins them as a jockey. But Charles takes on his
biggest reclamation project when he lets Tom talk him into buying
an ugly, abused colt whose awkward gait and nasty disposition
make his present owner eager to be rid of him.
Tempered by Toms gentle hands and unusual schooling methods,
Seabiscuit soon embarks on a racing career. Entering one event
after another, the undersized horse with the oversized rider begins
to make track history that amazes even jaded journalists and a
world-weary radio announcer (William H. Macy) who has to eat crow
when the long shot wins his first race. But beating the ponies
in the West is only a warm up to facing the blue-blooded Thoroughbreds
of the East Cost racing establishment and their top-rated runner,
Based on the true-life events of the 1938 Horse of the Year,
the film initially jumps from one storyline to another in an attempt
to introduce all the characters. Once it settles down, the script
contains scenes of cigarette and alcohol use by numerous characters
including a soused jockey. Verbal outbursts between owners and
stable hands frequently include profanities and athletes are subjected
to racing related injuries and beatings. One scene reveals prostitutes
in lacy underwear and brief back nudity along with some bawdy
behavior when the riders visit a brothel in a Mexican border town.
However, aside from these moments of content concern that blight
the film, Seabiscuit is a beautifully shot feel-good story of
redemption that will engage most horse loving teens and their
parents. During an era when the whole country longed for a return
to better days, this unremarkable horses astonishing rise
to fame lent hope to the downtrodden and discouraged. It gave
the country something to cheer about in a time when almost everyone
could use a second chance