War Horse

First slide

Epic screen version of Michael Morpurgo's 1982 novel, previously made into a successful stage play, about an English farmer's son (newcomer Jeremy Irvine) who trains and cares for a thoroughbred horse that his father (Peter Mullan) misguidedly buys just to thwart the local squire (David Thewlis). Despite the animal's successful adaptation to farm work, and the lad's emotional bond with him, at the start of World War I, the tiller sells him to an army officer (Tom Hiddleston) bound for the Western Front, thus initiating a series of adventures and trials that are, by turns, touching and harrowing. While the intensity of the drama, the level of violence and some of the vocabulary used make director Steven Spielberg's vast canvas unsuitable viewing for kids, mature audience members will encounter a stirring affirmation of human solidarity amid the tragedy of the trenches - a realization of shared values brought about, ironically, by the heroism and endurance of the nonhuman protagonist.
Watch out for: Considerable combat and other violence, including an execution; about a half-dozen uses of crass language; and a few vague sexual references.
Rated: A-III; MPAA: PG-13

© Arlington Catholic Herald 1970