Buck, a movie about the acclaimed Horse Whisperer, examines amontst other things, the effect of abuse on horses and people. Buck Brannaman wrestles with giving his violently abusive father credit for how well he turned out, and his special abilities connecting with horses. One could say that abuse can make a person more humble or sensitive. Buck thinks he would have turned out better had the abuse not occurred. He sees a difference between fear and respect, anger and firmness. He finds the latter in each pair the only way. But isn’t that because his experience made him hate terror and anger? I like that he doesn’t cave to thinking evil is necessary, but at the same time, I think he would agree that the way to excellence is hard.

Perhaps hardness is more common in an atmosphere of anger. Anger provides the adrenaline to do hard things. But it is not the only way hard ways are come by, and I think this is what Buck learned through his kinder, gentler mentors to whom he is happy to give credit for his success. But he can’t help but say his past made him who he is. It’s hard to reconcile, but I don’t think that makes evil necessary.

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