The Best Possible Film

A few weeks ago a local high school teacher asked me if there was anything appropriate to teenage special needs students. She wanted to organize an end-of-school-year field trip. As it happens we had the best possible film lined up. THE RIDER is about a young man who is on his way to rodeo stardom. 

He is barely out of his teens yet is entering manhood confident and strong. He looks to a future full of promise. Then a terrible tragedy befalls hm: he is badly injured in a horse accident. His injuries are so severe that he is left in a state that defines special needs.

He begins to question his manhood. He doubts he has the will to continue living. The Rider is so well done as to have been singled out at Cannes for a special award. The film has been praised internationally by the critics. 

There are other peculiar aspects of the film. The director cast the man’s father and younger sister in roles that mimic their real lives. The story is true.

But no matter: the teacher can’t touch it. This cowboy speaks in curses, foul language, swears. Some of his friends smoke pot. Thus the film is rated R. The teacher would lose her job if she took these kids to an R-rated movie.

I have sympathy for the teacher. There was no point in belaboring any social issues yet the film is about a man just beyond boyhood who becomes special needs. 

Perhaps the film will find some of them in a home version a few months down the road. I certainly don’t want a teacher to lose her job.