Cowgirls 'n' Angels (2012)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Movies that are clean as snow with a premise that is equally sweet are rare. When one does come along once in a blue moon, it only makes sense that viewers with conservative sensibilities would want to support it. Not a Christian movie in the traditional sense of those that, say Sherwood Pictures presents, Cowgirls ‘n’ Angels has some sweet virtues that usually don’t fit the “bigger plan” or “end game” in cinema.

The only difference between cowgirls and angels is that angels don’t ride as well. That is the story young Ida Clayton (Bailee Madison) tells us as told her by her grandfather. Quite the little rebel, she has been left to her own devices ever since she can remember as a result of being raised by a single mother (Alicia Witt) who is too busy working to pay any mind to her daughter’s activities. When not in school, Ida sneaks around her small home town, and finds it amusing to rifle through the belongings of rodeo spectators. Though she barely escapes the capture of a security guard, she begins sneaking onto the fairgrounds after hours, attempting to ride a horse. When Ida is caught riding the horse by former rodeo royalty, Terrence Parker (James Cromwell), she receives an offer to tour with the Sweethearts of the rodeo on two conditions: She can’t lie anymore and must have her mother’s permission.

Elaine is tired of her daughter’s pestering questions about her father and though her mother’s answer is always that “he left,” Ida knows that if she could just find him, they would enjoy a typical father-daughter relationship – it’s the one thing that has driven a wedge between mother and daughter. Given Elaine’s hatred towards the rodeo – fueled from being left by Ida’s father, a rodeo traveler – Ida knows that obtaining her permission is next to impossible, so she does what she has to: She lies.

Sometimes films like this are subpar because they didn’t have much of a budget or there is no talent to speak of. For this sweetheart of a movie, that seemed to be generally absent. I thought the premise was touching even if it does sometimes overreach, seemingly trying to be “labeled” as a script that has been done time and again. Likewise the acting is equally superior with the always adorable Bailee Madison leading the way. Her spunky Ida was one of the funniest things about the film and I thought she carried a great deal of the film joined also by Kathleen Rose Perkins, Madison Burge and Jackson Rathbone. Each of the cast members respectively gave the audience a convincing character that was both flawed and sincere besides spouting off genuinely decent southern drawls. I liked how easy it was to enjoy each of the girl’s who made up the Sweetheart team and yet, we are never led to believe they are anything but young women with mistake-prone pasts that were given a second chance through the program. In that, the story is a kind of redemption scenario that resonates with its viewer.

If there is one thing that did disappoint, it would be the relationship Ida had with her mother. I can deal with tension between parents and their child(ren) but I think having Ida hurl hateful things at her mother crosses a line that isn’t easy to return from and that was a mistake on writer’s part in my mind. Here, things do work out but it didn’t seem realistic given Ida’s supposed “hatred” and her mother’s lack of parenting. Elaine ignoring her daughter was sometimes painful to watch in addition to never endearing her as a character. Everything else is lovely about this darling flick even with the conclusions tied up a big bow – as my father would comment about a film such as this, it’s a shame that young people cannot appreciate a story like this. Instead we constantly pursue the next glossy blockbuster. Horse lovers will enjoy the trick riding, and those of us anxious for a story of forgiveness and Christian principles will delight in the heartfelt themes. It may not be the most original film but it has spunk.

(Be aware: there is some back-talking and disrespect from Ida towards her mother. There may be a minor swear word or two. Conversation reveals that a man never knew he was a father but whether it was the result of a failed marriage or a brief relationship [the latter seems a better guess] is not made clear. While training there are a couple of minor injuries and one girl was supposedly an alcoholic prior to changing. The film is rated PG.) 


  1. Hm, I haven't heard of this one. Great review!

  2. This movie would seem interesting to me from the horsey aspect, but otherwise it doesn't seem really that interesting :/ The title is cute though :D Thanks for the review! Sierra
    Keep growing beautiful!

  3. Rosie - it was a limited release in theaters and is now available to DVD. The movie escaped me but we saw it advertised on a DVD we rented/bought which is how I learned of it plus I think Bailee Madison is an adorable, expressive actress. :D

    Thank you for reading!

    Sierra - the horses play a prominent part in the story and the script is a sweet story but it has been told before just under a different name. ;D The title is cute though, isn't it!? The narrative that leads to that makes you smile as Ida's (Bailee Madison) voice-over tells us of her grandfather's comparison between angels and cowgirls.

    Thank you for reading, girl!

  4. This sounds like a sweet family friendly story!

  5. Sounds cute! This sounds great for a movie night with my little sister and her friend who LOVES horses. Thanks for the review! I come here alot for movie rec's and rev's! :)

  6. Ella - it really is! My family enjoyed it a great deal even though we tend to like films with more substance. This one has a lovely little message and I enjoyed the acting very much.

    Enjoy if you watch it. :)

    Kellie - it sure is! Aw! This would be a really good movie for your little sis and her friend. (Slumber party, no!? :D) If they like horses, then this is something you should check into - it's cute and has hoses in abundance.

    Enjoy - and thank you for reading! It is a much appreciated.

  7. I loved the trailer for this movie plus I practically love every movie with horses in it! And Bailee Madison is one of the cutest young stars out there!

    1. Bailee Madison is adorable in this one, Birdienl! She has a great expressive face that will serve her well in acting. :D

      Enjoy if you see it - I know I sure thought it was sweet!


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