Review~ Guaranteed To Fill Your Eyes With Tears, A Superb Story Of Heroism & A Beautiful Horse; War Horse

War Horse, with Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, Peter Mullan, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Niels Arestrup & Steven Spielberg, director.  In the run up, I heard one thing after another, all good, about this movie.  Preferring to make up my own mind, I held off any prejudgment, thinking that this was going to be another film like Incredible Journey (1963).  I was so surprised to see an animal portrayed as an actor!  Not just a story line focused on one or more animals.  This film is, at the very least, equal to The Yearling (with Gregory Peck), Old Yeller (with Dorothy McGuire) & Willard (with Bruce Davison & Ernest Borgnine), one of my early favorites.  In each of these films, humans & animals each interacted equally (in my opinion) & a great film was the result.

Irvine is a new actor, who will mature over time into something to talk about.  Right now, he’s a good boy.

The film begins on the eve of World War One in Devon, England.  A boy (Irvine) first sees a mare give birth to a feisty colt & is immediately fascinated.  The relationship between them begins when it turns out the horse (Joey) is purchased by his father & he is put to train the beast.  War breaks out & the beautiful horse is taken by a kind, military officer as his battle mount.

Watson & Mullan are great as the boy’s parents on the poor farm.  Watson is fantastic with emotion, as the suffering mother & Mullan plays well the crippled father, haunted by wars past, a crippled leg & too much drink.  They’re a great team.

Another team of two (there are several) Hiddleston & Cumberbatch (who is mentioned in my previous review) superbly take us (& Joey the horse) into the war.

This isn’t a film only about an a boy & his beloved companion.  It’s also another statement on the absolute & surprising horrors of WWI.  When the world reached adulthood & its childhood of so many millenia, was ripped away.  I found myself hating the Germans again, but was saved by Spielberg’s expert depiction of humanity & its multi-perspective dimensions.  Our governments may (& do) have their agendas; but it is humanity & the little stories, that detail history & life.

You know a film is great when you find yourself tearing up one minute – cheering the next, hand-on-mouth in anticipation – all in (seemingly) infinite cycles.  Spielberg is, yet again, the master director/creator/visionary.

This story would make Odysseus proud.  What an adventure!

Please, please take the time to see this film.  I recommend it because it will give you hope, that along with all the evils in the world, it is simple love that is ultimately permanent & lasting.  Anyone that “knows” animals will understand.


3 responses

  1. I can’t wait for this movie to come out on BluRay Disc. I loved this movie. Your review was spot on.

  2. I just got movies last night and I didn’t take that one! So frustrating – now I have to get it. I won’t miss it.

    Don’t you want to make a page with yay and nays so we can simply click on it and see which ones you recommend and have recommded – it will really make life so much easier when choosing movies?