Teresa Palmer is engaging, credible and ultimately the film’s trump card as Michelle Payne, the youngest of ten children brought up in a horse training and racing family in Victoria, who dreams of riding in the Melbourne Cup. Her journey as told here, with significant dramatic ellipsis (there’s one particular time jump that conveniently skips arguably a movie’s worth of drama) is not so much one of fighting against racing’s patrimony as of jockeying for position (ho ho ho) within her family for her father’s blessing to ride. Her dad is played by Sam Neill, one of the screen’s consummate professionals and a master of exuding empathy, so there’s nothing to worry about there. This is a girl and horse and father and family story first; it is inherently feminist but never makes gender its central concern. Thankfully, there’s no romantic subplot; outside of her dad, Michelle’s central relationship is with her brother Stevie, winningly played by the actual Stevie Payne. Palmer and Payne’s chemistry is sublime, and the quiet scenes between them are the film’s best.