This charming Disney live-action picture is a genuine sleeper. It's a variation on the old boy-runs-away-to-join-the-circus story, except this time the boy is a girl. After she joins a traveling show in the 1930s, spunky teen Sonora Webster (Gabrielle Anwar) learns the ropes and eventually lands a plum role in the program: riding a horse off a 40-foot-high diving board into a tank of water. Well, Sonora thinks it's a plum, anyway. Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken
has the usual love interest, a brush with tragedy, and some worldly wisdom (the latter doled out by old pro Cliff Robertson, in a nice role as a crusty barnstormer). What makes the movie memorable is the performance of the lovely Gabrielle Anwar, the doe-eyed actress who later danced the tango so memorably with Al Pacino in Scent of a Woman
. The movie may be sappy--no surprise with that title--but Anwar provides bright star wattage and a plucky role model. --Robert Horton
Rarely has a film inspired and captivated audiences quite like the real-life story of Sonora Webster. As a runaway orphan, Sonora (Gabrielle Anwar) gets a job doing cleanup work for Doc Carver's traveling stunt show. Her biggest wish is to become a star "diving girl," but her youth and inexperience stand in the way. Undaunted, Sonora's gutsy determination finally convinces Doc (Cliff Robertson) to give her a break. Just when she appears on the brink of stardom, however, a twist of fate threatens to destroy her dream. With the help of a loving friend (Michael Schoeffling, MERMAIDS), Sonora faces her biggest challenge yet to prove to herself and the world that WILD HEARTS CAN'T BE BROKEN!