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At-A-Glance Film Reviews

Coyote Summer (1996)



Reviews and Comments

There's no logical reason why this family film is as enjoyable as it is. The warning flags started flying in my head early on. Falling into a familiar mold in the first five minutes, sticking to the formula right through to the end, I'm at a loss for why I found this entertaining. The story concerns a maladjusted teenage city girl who is sent to her aunt's ranch for the summer while her single mom is on a lengthy business trip in London. Her newfound love of a wild horse helps her learn important life lessons. Of course, there's a shady character who's after the horse, and a competition that the horse must be trained for.

Ordinarily, movies that stick so unwaveringly to a well established formula such as this are uninvolving. But Coyote Summer is a good reworking of the formula. What creativity is lacking in its story is made up in its deft execution. For starters, the main character is one we understand and care about. Another plus is the film's congenial demeanor. It is content to entertain rather than shock, avoids emotional saccharine, and trusts its story and characters to pull it all off.

Coyote Summer is not a great film, but it's surprisingly good. Those looking for good family fare might want to look here. For horse lovers, it's a must.