This movie featuring a melodramatic pre-teen and a Gypsy Vanner named Bob wins our fearless film critic Amanda Ronan’s approval–barely.
Amanda U. Ronan
The Greening of Whitney Brown (2011) starts out following the easy-breezy life of Philadelphia princess Whitney Brown. She’s elected Class President, she gets a date with the hottest guy in school, Ben, and her mom gives her free rein with a credit card. But then it all comes crashing down when her dad loses his job. The family is broke. The bank takes everything. Whitney’s life… “deleted!”
The family is exiled to Whitney’s great-grandparent’s old property. Two story home, rolling green pastures, old oak trees…what a dump. But regardless of Whitney’s feelings on her new abode, the house already has an occupant! In Whitney’s words, “he’s huge and smelly and spotty and vicious!”
It’s a Gypsy Vanner!
Set to a teeny-bop-pop music montage, the Gypsy Vanner crushes Whitney’s cell phone, thereby cutting her off from her social network, and then stalks her around a hay field. He’s basically saying, “start loving me, the horse, and so ends your social life.”
Whitney’s parents adjust to the hard life in the country by going fly fishing and blackberry picking. Meanwhile, Gypsey Vanner/Stalker, also known as “Bob,” continues his reign of terror by finding Whitney’s new school and giving her a lift home.
But Whitney still worries that she is being forgotten, and she isn’t all wrong. Her former BFF, Lindsey, has taken over her reign as “class queen.” All but forgotten in her old school, Whitney makes every attempt to fit in to her new one. Finally, she’s invited to a hoedown. Grand entrance via horseback…needed! Look at that horse washing style!
Despite their preparations, the party doesn’t go well for Bob and Whitney. Not only is she shunned by her new classmates, but on the way home she whacks her head on a low branch. Bob runs home to his owner, who just happens to be Whitney’s long-lost grandfather, and she is returned safely home.
Grandpa, played by horse movie hero Kris Kristofferson, agrees to train Whitney in exchange for some barn help. They start with groundwork. Lesson #1: “Kissin’s for direction, cluckin’s for gaits.”
After only a few weeks, the pair teaches Grandpa Grumps a few new tricks. Ta da!
Then, Dad heads off for a job interview in Boston, while Mom makes ends meet selling fresh blackberry preserves. During a moment of beautiful mother/daughter bonding, Mom agrees to use the blackberry money towards a road trip back home to Philadelphia for the Fall Formal. But yet again, Whitney’s plans are foiled. Dad gets the job in Boston and the trip is cancelled!
“Drastic times call for drastic measures,” says Whitney. While Mom heads to Boston to look for a new house, Whitney wheedles her way into staying at the farm with Grandpa Grumps and Bob.
We all know this is a ruse, right?
Initiate Operation Sneaky Whitney!
The journey is fraught with danger. There’s a grocery store break-in, a rock’n’roll car chase, a horrible run-in with a raccoon, a slip down a muddy ravine…and that’s all in the first two minutes!
Will Whitney and Bob make it to the Fall Formal? Will her parents uproot her life once again to move to Boston or will they stay in the country? You’ll just have to watch and see!
This movie was cuter than I expected, despite the horrid tweeny bopper soundtrack, mediocre acting and predictable plot. The horses and dog were trained by Tommie Turvey, infamous for The Walking Dead, so they were exceptional. And the riding, while not very technical or correct, was still fun to watch. It adequately showed that “first love” that we all felt for that horse or pony that started it all. Life lessons about family and friendship abound, so this movie is sure to warm the cockles of your heart.
I give The Greening of Whitney Brown 2 ½ Golden Horseshoes.