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Mainstream - Moondance Alexander

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Actors: James Best, Don Johnson, Lori Loughlin, Kay Panabaker, Sasha Cohen
Director: Michael Damian
Number of discs: 1
Rated: G
20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: April 29, 2008
Run Time: 94 minutes

Fans of the Family Channel or Disney Network or family focused entertainment for that matter will enjoy Moondance Alexander especially if there is a young girl in the household. Moondance Alexander is in no danger of winning any awards for innovative cinema (and considering the content of those movies that do win those kinds of awards that is probably a good thing) but it will win the hearts of young viewers and is not too hard for adults to watch either.

In brief Moondance Alexander is a 14 or 15 year old girl who is not quite in step with her peer group: She is polite, hard working and respectful – no wonder she doesn’t fit in. While doing her after school job Moondance comes across a pinto that has clearly escaped from its stable. What is a girl to do but take the horse home. Played by Nancy Drew alum Kay Panabaker Moondance is an effusive and happy girl who is so smitten with the horse she names Checkers that she attempts to ride him without so much as a saddle or helmet. Eventually the horse is returned to his rightful owner which is where the story actually starts as Moondance negotiates work for riding lessons.

Going into more detail would just ruin a reasonably well told and competently acted if somewhat predictable story. Kay Panabaker and Don Johnson provide strong performances and horse people will be more than happy with the on screen portrayal of horse training and tack but maybe not so much with the portrayal of the horsey set. Curiously cast in this movie as the thorn in Moondance’s side and the generally unlikable most popular girl on the planet is figure skating champion Sasha Cohen. The charity conscious Olympian plays the role of the loathsome Fiona Hughes with great relish and shows some potential as a thespian if a little broad in her character.

All in all Moondance Alexander has already had two screenings at my house and I sat through both of them with my 10 year old daughter. The movie offers a great opportunity for parents to talk about some interesting issues like bullying that does not involve physical aggression, individuality, work and responsibility. That may not be what you want from a movie but if you have a young daughter this is a great movie to bring into the house and I look forward to screening it a few more times.  

Denis Bernicky

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