By Mike D'Angelo
November 05, 1998 at 05:00 AM EST
  • Movie

Director Robert Redford’s adaptation of Nicholas Evans’ best-seller ”The Horse Whisperer” positively shimmers, all verdant vistas, gently undulating flanks, and natural highlights. Even on video, it’s a dazzling backdrop for an earnest, clunky foreground, in which an uptight magazine editor (Kristin Scott Thomas) hires an aging-but-still-virile cowboy (guess who) to ”gentle” her recently injured daughter (Scarlett Johansson) and the girl’s traumatized horse…and maybe woo her, too. Much gauzy sensitivity and healing ensues, with Redford’s rugged dude murmuring aphorisms (”Knowing is the easy part. Saying it out loud is the hard part”) as if he were the author of Equine Soup for the Soul. Watch ”Ordinary People” while leafing through a Lands’ End catalog for roughly the same experience.