The Horse Boy

Rowan Isaacson is an autistic 5-year-old with extreme behavioral problems. He has hours-long tantrums; he refuses to use a toilet; and he can’t relate to other children. His parents, Rupert Isaacson and Kristin Neff, are at their wits’ end when, one day, Rowan wanders over to a neighbor’s stable and starts hugging a horse. In the presence of horses, Rowan’s symptoms vanish, because horses are slightly less magical versions of unicorns. So Isaacson and Neff do what any parents would do: They take Rowan from their home in Texas to Mongolia so that he can be healed by horse-riding shamans. The Horse Boy is a surprisingly smart and effective documentary, maintaining an agnostic attitude about the effects of shamanism while presenting a tight, compelling narrative. First-time filmmaker Michel Scott does great work here, and though the scenes of Rowan melting down can be hard to watch, The Horse Boy is an entertaining, thoughtful and engaging film.



  • Michel Scott


  • Rupert Isaacson

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