The girl-meets-horse formula is a creaky one, but SYLVESTER is a surprisingly fresh reworking of a standard tale best told in NATIONAL VELVET (1944). Charlie (Melissa Gilbert of TV's "Little House on the Prarie," in her theatrical film debut) is an orphaned teenager trying to raise two
younger brothers by herself. She wants to be a horse trainer and decides to break in a seemingly uncontrollable animal she comes to love. Dubbing the horse Sylvester (after one of her favorite actors, Sylvester Stallone), she sets out to make the nag a steeplechase competitor. She hooks up with
Foster (Richard Farnsworth), an old horseman who has clearly seen better days and who, ini...