Home Spirit Untamed

Spirit Untamed (U)

Cast: Mckenna Grace, Jake Gyllenhaal, Julianne Moore, Andre Braugher, Isabela Merced, Marsai Martin
Genre: Family
Author(s): Aury Wallington, Kristin Hahn
Director: Ennio Torresan, Elaine Bogan
Release Date: 30/07/2021
Running Time: 88mins
Country: US
Year: 2021

Fortuna Navarro-Prescott aka Lucky is a bright-eyed toddler when her circus performer mother dies executing her signature somersault on horseback. Separated from her grief-stricken father Jim, who is incapable of caring for an infant, Lucky is raised by her aunt Cora and grandfather James in the city. Years later, events conspire to return Lucky and Cora to the town of Miradero for a summer under Jim's roof. The inquisitive girl befriends a wild stallion named Spirit.


LondonNet Film Review
Spirit Untamed (U)

According to one of the cherubic computer-animated heroines in Elaine Bogan and Ennio Torresan’s girl-powered coming of age story, horses response positively to the three Cs: calmness, confidence and carrots. Unfortunately, the three Cs that cinema audiences response to most favourably, characterisation, charm and complexity, are in short supply in this unsophisticated spin-off from the 2002 film Spirit: Stallion Of The Cimarron and subsequent Netflix series. Screenwriters Aury Wallington and Kristin Hahn trot out independent, socially conscious female protagonists as role models, promoting individuality and sisterly solidarity as qualities to be cherished…

While the script’s intentions are unquestionably noble, Bogan and Torresan’s gallop through the wilderness is like a glass of squash made with a miserly splash of fruit cordial: refreshing at the first sip but ultimately lacking in pleasurable flavour or colour. The film skirts tentatively around tricky topics of grief and abandonment rather than tackling emotional trauma head-on, which is a disservice to younger viewers well versed in processing pain thanks to animated films like Big Hero 6, Coco and Onward. Isabela Merced, who brought spunk and vitality to the title role of live-action film Dora And The Lost City Of Gold, is largely forgettable as the voice of a girl scarred by the loss of her mother, while an A-List supporting cast including Jake Gyllenhaal and Julianne Moore is similarly squandered.

Fortuna Navarro-Prescott (voiced by Merced) aka Lucky is a bright-eyed toddler when her circus performer mother (Eiza Gonzalez) dies executing her signature somersault on horseback. Separated from her grief-stricken father Jim (Gyllenhaal), who is incapable of caring for an infant, Lucky is raised by her aunt Cora (Moore) and grandfather James (Joe Hart) in the city. Years later, events conspire to return Lucky and Cora to the town of Miradero for a summer under Jim’s roof.

The estranged father struggles to reconnect with Lucky, who possesses the same fiery temperament and steely resolve as her mother. The inquisitive tyke befriends a wild stallion named Spirit and embarks on daredevil adventures with local girls Pru (Marsai Martin) and Abigail (Mckenna Grace) and their respective steeds, Little Creek and Boomerang. When horse wrangler Hendricks (Walton Goggins) targets Spirit’s herd, the girls defy parental edicts to gallop to the rescue.

Spirit Untamed keeps a tight rein on anything that might set itself apart from countless computer-animated escapades with soundtracks that spell out every emotion in the lyrics. Here, a pop anthem sung by Becky G taps toes of acceptance, It Won’t Be Long Until You Find Where You Belong, as animators saddle up for unremarkable set pieces including a horseback leap onto a moving cargo ship. Unlike the four-legged title character, there is nothing wild or free about Bogan and Torresan’s picture.

– Sarah Lee


London Cinemas Showing Spirit Untamed


From: Friday 14th January
To: Thursday 20th January

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UK and Irish Cinemas Showing Spirit Untamed


From: Friday 14th January
To: Thursday 20th January

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Sat 13:00

From: Friday 21st January
To: Thursday 27th January

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