Fresh Horses

After co-starring in the classic teen angst film "Pretty in Pink”, Molly Ringwald and Andrew McCarthy pair up in this adaptation of Larry Ketron’s play about star-crossed lovers.

The film did only mediocre box office business, but is definitely an under appreciated gem.

The cinematography is absolutely haunting, due in part to it’s eerie Midwestern backdrop, complete with desolate farm land, fog, lots of dirt roads and gnarled trees. This is an important part of establishing the stark contrast between Ringwald’s country and McCarthy’s suburban characters.

A picture perfect life is all that Matt Larkin (McCarthy) was looking forward to. Well liked at his midwestern college, this soon to be grad had friends, a beautiful, waspy fiancée, parties and good times. But when Matt met the sensual Jewel, his carefully constructed house of cards falls apart and changes him forever.

Matt’s content with his very proper fiancée and his safe life, so when his best friend Tipton, played charmingly by a young Ben Stiller, relates a story of a night spent in a rough, country house filled with seedy characters, beer, music and women, Matt initially scoffs at the idea of visiting. However, as he ponders his imminent marriage, he decides to check it out-- no harm done, a little fun before life gets serious.

The two drive out to the house, in the “boonies”, expecting a wild party, however, when they arrive, they find only the aftermath of a debaucherous night—cigarette butts and bottles strewn everywhere, a bluesy ZZ Top tune on the stereo, a solitary biker playing pool and a woman’s muffled giggle coming from upstairs. Disappointed, Matt goes to fetch a beer for Tipton and in doing so, in the kitchen, meets his eventual undoing—Jewel.

Jewel (Ringwald), is all mystery and trailer park at the same time. She’s obviously grown up uneducated, yet Matt is instantly drawn to her. He returns to seek her out and the attraction they share is obvious. Despite their social differences, Matt is completely infatuated.

His life soon does a 180. He breaks off his engagement, sneaks out at night and stops seeing his friends. He’s headed for trouble as he discovers the many secrets Jewel hides, including an abusive husband and stepfather, the shady people that hang around the house, as well as the fact she is underage.

Two worlds collide and it seems the lovers are doomed by circumstance. After Matt has a run in with Jewel’s spouse, the ultra-seedy Green, played with precision by Viggo Mortenson, Matt and Jewel must make the decision they’ve both been dreading, but will ultimately free them.


The movie has it's flaws, in the form of a cliched storyline, but is a touching story overall.

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Strengths: Cast, locations, moody and sensual cinematography

Weaknesses? Plot, no happy endings here!

Our rating: 8.5 out of 10

Review Written by Monica Salazar:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Monica Salazar
Fresh Horses