War Horse (2011) – Film Review

war horse

Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis
Certificate: 12A

by Dan Berlinka

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the War Horse book and stage play is unashamedly sentimental. It creates a family friendly fable of courage, devotion and humanity – the equine lead character notwithstanding.

A horse and the boy who trains him are split by the onset of World War One. Each experience the horrors of the battlefield.

Yes, the film could undoubtedly be half an hour shorter. There’s at least one whole episode that might comfortably have been left out. But for those willing to embrace it, it’s nonetheless an emotionally satisfying journey.

war horse film review farm

“Genuine power”

A few sequences in particular do have genuine power – an expression on Tom Hiddlestone’s face that’s just heart-breaking; a moment of co-operation in no-man’s land between Toby Kebell and Hinnerk Schönemann.

Your enjoyment of this film will be in direct proportion to your tolerance for emotional manipulation. But for families with older children, or anyone who occasionally finds themselves tearing up at a commercial, it’s well worth a trip.


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