The Non-Fiction Section talks Oscar

No More Popcorn
February 15, 2012

Buck: “Buck” actually made the academy’s shortlist, and I was a little shocked to see it didn’t make the nominations, since it’s a total crowd-pleaser in the mold of “Man on Wire.” It’s the kind of film that would make even the least enthusiastic audience member want to check out more films like it. “Buck” is about Buck Brannaman, an acclaimed “Horse Whisperer” (he was the real-life basis for Robert Redford’s character in the 1998 movie). A victim of abuse as a child, Brannaman uses his experience to relate to difficult horses, who are often victims themselves. Director Cindy Meehl brings audiences along with Brannaman in the field as he trains horses, consults with owners, and more often than not offers therapy to animal and owner alike. One of the highlights of last year’s True/False Festival was having Brannaman on site. He was a great guy to be around, and came off exactly the way Meehl portrays him in the film.

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What the horse whisperer can teach humans

Michael Bodey The Australian  2/15/2012


BUCK Brannaman is your typical Hollywood cowboy: he’s unflappable, speaks deliberately and wears his wide-brimmed hat with formal aplomb.

He is typical in appearance anyway. Brannaman, the subject of an affecting new documentary, is a reluctant star.

“I’m not delusional about this,” he notes while promoting the film, Buck, in Melbourne.

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Richard Gray, February 14, 2012

In Cindy Meehl‘s debut documentary, her subject Buck Brannaman is a quiet and thoughtful man, teaching horses and humans to cooperate. ”Your horse is a mirror to your soul”, says Buck “and sometimes you may not like what you see. Sometimes, you will.” One wonders what Buck, ostensibly an open book in this documentary, would make of his own tale, which bares (almost) all about his life, philosophy and the way he relates to humans and horses both.

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Life lessons

Life lessons from Buck Brannaman – ‘Horses and life, it’s all the same to me’
By Sharon Furr
Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 10:23 pm (Updated: February 8, 12:28 am)

I’ve always heard that the outside of a horse can do something wonderful to the inside of a man, and I truly believe it.
Today’s story is all about horses and ourselves as being one, or you could fill in the blank — instead of horses, it could be cows, or dogs, or you get the gist.
I’ve always been in awe of Buck Brannaman, the pure cruelty he came up in and how his life turned out, despite all odds. It’s a lesson in itself that no matter what hand of cards life deals you, you have a choice with what you can do with it. Of course, you can allow yourself to wallow in it or hide in it, that’s the easy way out, never making a difference, that’s the avenue most people take, but it’s all up to you, you have that option, you have the pulse.

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BUCK 3.5 stars

Review: Mark Naglazas, January 25, 2011

You’ll like this if you liked Gorillas in the Midst, The Horse Whisperer, Seabiscuit, Grizzly Man.
It’s commonly assumed that abused children themselves become abusers, imposing the hurt they suffered on the next generation (violence being in the DNA was the subject of last year’s French-Canadian masterpiece Incendies).

BUCK on National Catholic Register’s Best Films of 2011

Buck. Luminous and uplifting, documentarian Cindy Meehl’s homage to laconic, low-key “horse whisperer” Buck Brannaman is a powerful portrait of leadership, redemption, healing and understanding — a film that’s as much about being a better person as a better horseman. Mild language; references to an abusive childhood; a couple of violent horse moments and a moderately serious injury. Fine for older kids.

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The Hollywood Reporter on BUCK

Redford’s Real Horse Whisperer Stars in ‘Buck’ Doc

First-time filmmaker Cindy Meehl makes an Oscar-shortlisted doc on Buck Brannaman, who inspired Robert Redford’s equine classic.
7:48 PM PST 1/4/2012 by Tim Appelo

Cindy Meehl‘s Buck, a Cedar Creek Productions documentary about the amazing, revolutionary, almost spiritual horse trainer Buck Brannaman, made the Oscar shortlist and Roger Ebert‘s list of the Best Documentaries of 2011. Meehl tells The Hollywood Reporter how she made a hit her first time in the director’s saddle.  Read complete article >

Movie City News – BUCK in Top Ten for 2011

Kim Voynar

Cindy Meehl working on BUCK

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Buck, Cindy Meehl
One of the surprises of Sundance, this quiet, modest doc introduces us to the real life model for “The Horse Whisperer,” Buck Brannaman, a man who overcame childhood abuse to become a calm, gentle man who trains horses by treating them with the understanding and compassion with which he wishes his own abusive father had treated him and his brother. One of the most delightful films of any genre last year.

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Citizen critics pick BUCK as one of best movies for 2011

The Union-Tribune’s Citizen Critics sat through a year of movies ranging from the great (“The Help”), to the confusing (“Anonymous”), to the lukewarm (“Larry Crowne”), to the just plain bad (“The Sitter”).

Here are their favorite movies of 2011:


The movie genre that caught most of my attention this year is the documentary, and from that group my favorite by far was “Buck.” This film about Buck Brannaman the real-life horse whisperer is fabulous. He is an inspiration, not only in his communication, understanding and compassion with horses but also in how he overcame the unbelievable adversity of his abusive childhood. The connection between man and horse is a large focus of the film, but it is also about sensitivity and respect for every living being. Buck’s poetic grace is felt throughout, and it is remarkable to see how truly gifted he is and what an extraordinary life he has created. This is the best 88 minutes I spent in a theater this year!

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BUCK selected in Alison Gang’s Best Movies of 2011
December 30, 2011

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