10 year old Sunny Matthews (Kelsey Mulrooney) lost her father in a car crash, she was also seriously hurt and three months later was left with a knee brace and crutches leading to her becoming withdrawn. But after moving to a trailer park next to the stables run by Ben (Tom Amandes) and Buddy (Stuart Whitman) things start to change as after reluctantly going out wandering Sunny befriends Ginger, a temperamental and injured horse which no one has been able to get close to. Despite Sunny's mum Kathleen (Isabel Glasser) reluctant to let her be around the ranch she eventually agrees as she sees how much Sunny has improved. Before long Sunny and Ginger are inseparable and planning on entering a barrel riding competition which means they both need to get well and over their injuries.
I would imagine even those who only watch one or two movies a year could name at least one horse movie as there are so many of them. That leads me to "Second Chances", a little known horse movie from 1998 which is as sweet and charming as they come but at the same time incredibly familiar. Yet despite being familiar it has plenty going on, making it entertaining and the sort of movie which despite the familiarity you can't stop yourself from watching.
It is hard to explain "Second Chances" without giving too much away but here the basic building block of familiarity as the injured Sunny and the injured Ginger bond with having someone to care for helping Sunny recover. But then we have extra elements such as Ben's past, the picture he carries of a woman and child plus the mother of one of his students being very pushy when it comes to making her daughter ride to get to the top. It is all kind of obvious and pretty much writes itself as these various story elements come together in a predictable but nice manner giving the movie plenty of heart and charm as well as a slice of drama.
Heart and charm is exactly what you get from the actors and initially Tom Amandes looking nothing like Tom Amandes with long hair and permanent stubble. But Amandes and Stuart Whitman have that old time friends chemistry which makes them a likeable double act. Plus here is Kelsey Mulrooney who whilst delivering a typical children's performance is not so cute that she becomes annoying.
What this all boils down to is that "Second Chances" is a little charmer of a horse movie with a sweet story of people and a horse getting a second change after individual tragedies affected them. For the most it is familiar and is predictable but whilst it all comes together in quite a predictable way it keeps hold of your attention.