Nikki Reed in A Sunday Horse (2016)

The Evangelist

Debi Walden (Nikki Reed) always had a way with horses and she had potential when it came to jumping them, but unfortunately her parents could never fund her passion and her father having failed as a professional football coach is bitter and negative when it comes to his daughter's dreams. Never the less with a strong belief that God has given a talent and has a plan for her Debi works hard in the stables to earn money. And with someone seeming to be watching over her Debi her shot at competing, and making strong friends along the way, such as Mr. Valentine (Ving Rhames) who like Debi has worked hard to now be a wealthy stable and horse owner. But just as things seem to be sliding in to place Debi suffers a near fatal accident which threatens to bring an end to her dreams once and for all.

I don't know how many horse movies I have watched but it feels like a lot. In fact it has got to the point that when another horse movie ventures in to my path I genuinely question whether to bother watching as I know the chances are it is going to be another underdog story with either a damaged horse or human or even a combination of both beating the odds. But let me just say now that whilst "A Sunday Horse" is no different when it comes to the bigger picture with Debi suffering a near fatal fall this movie has a whole wagon full of story before it even gets to that bit.

Ryan Merriman and Cassi Thomson in A Sunday Horse (2016)

So what do I mean by a whole wagon? Well that ranges from Debi having to deal with the condescending owner of the stables to a former rival who mocks her for the over sized clothes she once wore as her mum couldn't afford to buy ones which fitted. We also get to see how her father is incredibly negative having had his dreams destroyed whilst she also deals with another horse owner who sponsors her but only as a way of using her hard work to train a horse to use for someone else. But the real big thing, and I know some will dislike this, we see how Debi has a strong belief in God and that he will provide what she needs as he has given her a talent. As I said there will be those who will dislike this side but it isn't as preachy as many a movie and in truth is just another element to this multi-levelled story. Now there is more to "A Sunday Horse" that just that and there is a chain of events come the end which I won't go into but like all the build up has various levels even though it delivers what you expect as well as a little bit more.

Of course what I haven't mentioned yet is that this story is actually a biopic and whilst I have no idea how faithful "A Sunday Horse" is to the true story it works well as a piece of entertainment. Much of the reason for that is down to director Vic Armstrong's direction which has that easy to watch appeal of a TV movie but with the beauty and attention to detail you get from some big screen movies. But Armstrong has also picked a strong cast with veterans such as William Shatner, Linda Hamilton and Ving Rhames all bringing a certain appeal to their supporting roles. But it is Nikki Reed who delivers the charming and heart felt performance which this movie calls for and contributes to its easy to watch nature.

What this all boils down to is that "A Sunday Horse" is ultimately a predictable underdog story but trust me when I say all the story leading to what is an inevitable and touching climax is a lot more than you might expect with elements of faith which won't appeal to everyone but are surprisingly refreshing.