Movie Review: War Horse


Warning: Make sure you bring tissues with you to see War Horse. You will need them throughout the film.

Winner of the 2011 best play at the Tony's, War Horse has been adapted to the screen by Steven Spielberg. Spielberg is known for his films based throughout wars including Schindler's List, Saving Private Ryan, and Letters from Iwo Jima. War Horse adds another exciting film to his selection of films that history teachers can use in classroom when they want to reward their students while still being educational.

If you don't know anything about War Horse, it's the story of a boy and his horse during World War I. In need of cash, his father sells the horse to the British army. The boy, only a young teenager, runs off and joins the army in hopes of finding his horse. The film follows both characters as the boy hopes to reunite with his childhood pet.

The cinematography was amazing throughout the film. From the opening fly over of the British shoreline to the final scene when the credits rolled I truly felt emerged in the 1920s. I felt like there was a sepia feel to parts of it. It was in color, but the colors were muted.  It was not like Schindler's List which was black and white.

While the original story for War Horse can be traced to a young adult book, I would like to make sure my readers know that the film is set during World War I and there are a few intense war scenes. They also shoot and kill horses after working them to a breaking point. I assume that those scenes were done with CGI and no actual horses were harmed, but the scenes were very realistic and disturbing. Please keep that in mind before bringing children to see the film, or if you have a weak stomach for those type of things.

My personal opinion of this film is that it was an amazing story of survival and perseverance. I have never really been a huge fan of the war genre, but I found the story weaved nicely into the setting without becoming a history lesson. Not only did we see the relationship of a boy and his horse, but we saw a relationship form between Joey and another horse during the war. I would highly recommend this film and think that everyone can find something they like.

War Horse will be released nation wide on December 25, 2011. The screening I attended was in October and studio employees were interviewing the audience as we left, so there is a high possibility that things have changed since I originally wrote this review. The types of changes made should not effect my generalized comments, but I wanted to make you aware of the possibility.

Movie Rating for War Horse

The passes for this pre-screening were from Film Metro. Follow their Facebook page to attend free screenings near you. Check out my information post for more information about free movie screenings.

I would like to leave you with this short clip from the Tony Awards when Neal Patrick Harris rode Joey. War Horse is still playing at the Lincoln Center so if you're in NY, consider seeing the award winning production.


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