Our Score: 4 out of 5 stars
In this summer of big blockbuster films with robots, monsters and men of steel you may need a break from all of the loud noises and bright lights. May I suggest “Our Wild Hearts,” a quiet family film with a message which will next air on the Hallmark Movie Channel next month?
Willow (Cambrie Schroder) is a 15 year old, Malibu-raised girl. She lives with her single mom and spends her days attending dance class and hanging out at the beach with her friend Zoe (Veronica Dunne). Zoe is the typical spoiled rich kid, constantly complaining about how her father keeps tabs on her but relenting on going to lunch with him because he’s giving her very own credit card. Willow tries to listen like the best friend she is but inside she pines for the father she’s never known. She has tried to talk with her mom Katie (Angela Lindvall) but the conversations never get far. One day she finds a box in her mother’s room containing unsent letters and a picture of a cowboy. Confronting her mother she learns her father worked on a ranch that Katie once visited. His name is Jack and he doesn’t know he has a daughter. Yet.
Beautifully photographed, “Our Wild Hearts” is Ricky Schroder’s strongest work yet from behind the camera. A true family project (director Schroeder produced and co-wrote the film with his wife, Andrea and several of his children have roles in the film), “Our Wild Hearts” is really two stories with the same message: to follow your destiny no matter what. The “hearts” in the title belong to both Willow and a beautiful wild stallion named Bravo. Jack is intent on catching Bravo in order to sell him while Willow wants to let him run free. Father and daughter butt heads often, not only with each other but with nearby rancher Grizz, played by Martin Kove in full “Karate Kid” villain mode. Grizz and his boys (played by Luke and Holden Schroder) try every means necessary, be it horse, jeep or helicopter, to capture Bravo while all Jack has is his lasso and Top (Potts) his partner in the ranch. Once Bravo is captured the film addresses the question of whether wild animals should continue to run free or be broken and sold. This question only leads to more and the answers are what carry the film to a satisfying conclusion.
The cast is solid, with Cambrie Schroder giving a winning performance in what could have been a very cliché’d role. Hers is the spirit that carries the film and it is amazing that this is her first acting gig. I predict many more in her future. Ricky Schroder is equally good and the natural chemistry between he and his on and off-screen daughter is visible. Potts, in his first performance in over a decade, is quick with fatherly advice while Kove is easily the father nobody would want. The scenery is postcard-perfect and the musical score by Michael Lord helps drive the story.
The film next airs on August 2,2013 on the Hallmark Movie Channel. For more screening information go to www.hallmarkmoviechannel.com