“Moondance Alexander”

Moondance Alexander

By Jae-Ha Kim
May 16, 2008

A sweet family drama about a girl and her misunderstood horse, Moondance Alexander focuses on a teenager who is longing to fit into a world where she is considered an oddball.

Though Moondance (Kay Panabaker) is cute as a button, she’s saddled with an unpopular name and that, apparently, is enough to make other 15-year-old girls dislike her. But when the spunky kid finds a mischievous runaway pinto, her life changes for the better.

The horse’s owner is played by a gravely voiced Don Johnson, who allows Moondance to work at his stable. In return, he will also train her to ride Checkers, who is her new best friend. Moondance is convinced that Checkers is a champion jumper in the making that just needs someone to believe in him. She believes.

And by the end of the movie, the parable won’t be lost on anyone that in bringing out the best in Checkers, Moondance also discovers her own worth.

Directed by soap opera star Michael Damian, the film has a warm, but cheesy made-for-TV vibe. The movie is not without charm.

But there are virtually no surprises here, and the viewer easily guesses what will happen way before it actually does.

Panabaker, Johnson and Lori Loughlin (as Moondance’s mom) are all wonderful in their roles. But figure skater Sasha Cohen is sorely miscast as Moondance’s high-school nemesis.



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