In the beautifully realized story of struggle and determination, young cowboy Brady Blackburn (Brady Jandreau), once a rising star of the rodeo circuit and an uniquely gifted horse trainer, is warned that his riding days are over after a horse badly crushed his skull at a rodeo and put him in a three-day coma. Back home on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, South Dakota, Brady struggles with the physical and emotional complications of the accident. He is comforted by his inimitable little sister Lilly (Lilly Jandreau), who has Asperger’s Syndrome, while tensions between him and his gambling father, Wayne (Tim Jandreau), approach a breaking point when Wayne resorts to selling Brady’s favorite horse to keep their trailer home. Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose: to ride and compete. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for new identity and tries to redefine his idea of what it means to be a man in the heartland of America. Lead actor Brady Jandreau talks about his journey from the rodeo to his portrayal of a fictionalized version of his own brush with death, depression, and recovery, and the thrill of working with family and friends in this celebrated film debut by award-winning (Cannes Film Festival Directors’ Fortnight, Best Picture) director/writer /producer Chloe Zhao (Songs My Brother Taught Me).
96% on Rotten Tomatoes
“The Rider marries the majestic vistas of the greatest American westerns with a deeply interior story of a cowboy having to renegotiate his identity.” – Ben Croll, The Wrap
“It’s just plain excellent.” – Michael Phillips, Chicago Tribune
“A remarkable, deeply moving melding of fact and fiction.” – Jeffrey M. Anderson, San Francisco Examiner
“Filmmaker Chloé Zhao turns the story of real-life bronc rider Brady Jandreau into a gritty, graceful character study. Once The Rider hooks you – and believe me, it will – there’s no way you will ever forget it.” – Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
“One of the year’s most arresting and unforgettable films.” – Nick Schager, The Daily Beast