Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken

1991, G, 88 min. Directed by Steve Miner. Starring Gabrielle Anwar, Michael Schifflin, Dylan Kussman, Cliff Robertson.

REVIEWED By Kathleen Maher, Fri., May 31, 1991

Yes, I suppose it's wimpy to start with a disclaimer, but it's difficult to review children's movies without one, so here goes: This film is directed in general at young girls who are still in the horse-mad stage though puberty rushes upon them. They'll like this movie and the rest of us won't mind it. The story is based on the true story of Sonora Webster who was blinded in an accident as a sideshow performer riding “diving horses” off a high platform into a tank of water at Atlantic City. Anwar plays Sonora as a spunky young girl who runs away from home to join the circus. There she meets cranky old Cliff Robertson, a Wild Bill type who runs the sideshow and with his son, Schifflin, a handsome young man who can't please his father, but does pretty well with horses and young girls. This is classic Disney fare in that difficult questions aren't really examined. Schifflin starts out as a bit of a wastrel, but once our young heroine falls in love, he's miraculously redeemed. All this misty gold-lighting, nostalgia and sweet simplicity is kind of a switch for Miner who got his start directing a couple of Friday the 13th films. He does all right with this material, though. Wild Hearts didn't really get me crying, and this kind of movie usually does, but it didn't make me want to scream either, and this kind of movie usually does. To get back to an area in which I have some experience, horse-mad little girls, let me say that even though they'll like this movie and they'll fall in love with the marvelous grey that Sonora rides, they'll want more horse scenes. They're the best part of the movie and there's not enough of them.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Steve Miner Films
Texas Rangers
Call it Dude, Where's My Horse?. This photogenic Western is more ambitious than the usual strenuously middling genre fare from Dimension Films, Miramax's youth-oriented production ...

Marrit Ingman, Dec. 7, 2001

Lake Placid
Further proof that the end times are upon us, this scattershot, PETA-friendly monster movie is penned by the same wag who weekly brings us both ...

Marc Savlov, July 16, 1999

More by Kathleen Maher
The Reporting Life
The Reporting Life
Oh, the places you'll go

Sept. 3, 2021

Incident at Oglala
British filmmaker Apted makes a carefully reasoned, yet passionate statement about the legal system that has ensnared American Indian Movement activist Leonard Peltier.

July 10, 1992


Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken, Steve Miner, Gabrielle Anwar, Michael Schifflin, Dylan Kussman, Cliff Robertson

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle