Peace Arch Entertainment // 2005 // 95 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // December 5th, 2008
Never stop believing in your dreams.
First things first, I call shenanigans on the cover art. There's a gleaming white horse galloping with what looks like pixie dust swirling around and a cute little Caucasian girl running in front of it, her arms spread wide, a heart-melting smile on her face, and in the background we see a cottage, a Christmas tree, and there in the top-right corner are Santa and his reindeer!
None of that is in this movie.
The Winky in question is indeed one Winky Wong (Ebbie Tam), a young Chinese girl. She's not after a magical pixie dust horse and Santa Claus does not fly around on his sleigh...and I'm trying to remember if I saw a Christmas tree. Nah, don't think so. Winky's Horse is a small drama about a young girl who lives for one thing: to own a horse.
Winky and her family have moved to Europe to open a Chinese restaurant. As she attempts to fit in with her new surroundings with just a handful of friends, Winky develops an affection for an equine friend. But when an illness claims the life of her horse pal, Winky goes on a mission to get another horse. As it happens to be the Yuletide season, she targets none other than Saint Nicholas, and will go to any length to deliver her special request to The Man. And if it comes to it, she'll hijack her own @#$%& horse.
Hey, this isn't a bad little film, though I think it's marketed poorly. It's not a magical tale of whimsy and magical whimsical magic, but it is a sweet slice of character drama. Little Ebbie Tam is a sweetheart who is in nearly every scene which gives her plenty to do, but she's up to it. Of course the overwrought dubbing detracts from the effectiveness -- a good amount actually -- but my, what a smile!
The story itself is boilerplate. Little girl loves horsey, horsey dies, little girl is distraught, little girl does everything she can to get her own horsey, her wish comes true. If you think that's a spoiler, then you've obviously not watched movies before. It's formulaic, but also a little weird. I don't want to be culturally insensitive but the holiday customs of The Netherlands are...interesting. To get the attention of Saint Nicholas, Winky goes to such extreme measures as putting carrots in shoes and ambushing the guy in the middle of the street. Then, when Saint Nick makes a special appearance in Winky's classroom, he brings some helpers or elves or whatever...and they're in blackface. Again, I don't mean to offend our Dutch readers but WTF?!
A lean DVD: a nice-looking 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen and two stereo
tracks (English and French) and no extras.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Peace Arch Entertainment
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (French)
Running Time: 95 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated