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Still shot from the movie: War Horse.

War Horse

Albert (Jeremy Irvine) has a deep bond with his horse Joey. So when the animal is sold to the British Cavalry, the boy also enlists in the World War I effort, in the hopes of saving his equestrian friend. Get the movie review and more. »


Overall: A- 4.5
Violence: C-
Sexual Content: A-
Language: B-
Drugs/Alcohol: C+
Run Time: 147
Theater Release: 25 Dec 2011
Video Release: 03 Apr 2012
MPAA Rating: PG-13
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War is never a pretty thing and though sanitized in many ways, Director Steven Spielberg’s movie brings a more balanced but sobering look at World War I to the screen.

Before the conflict begins, Albert (Jeremy Irvine) lives in a pastoral setting in the English countryside where he and his parents (Emily Watson, Peter Mullan) eek out a living on a rock-strewn, tenant farm. Then one day in a match of one-upmanship fueled by alcohol, Albert’s father Ted buys a young horse at auction. Albert names the colt Joey and begins to train him for the saddle and plow. But with bills piling up, Ted sells the horse to Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) when the war breaks out. When the army sets sail, Joey is shipped to France along with the rest of the soldiers.

Too young to join the ranks, Albert vows to find his animal and bring him home as soon as he is able. In the meantime, Joey sees the confrontation from behind both enemy lines where he and the audience meet good and bad soldiers on either side.

Based on a fictionalized children’s book by Michael Morpugo, the battle depictions are much more graphic and intense than anything described in the novel. Prolonged portrayals of hand-to-hand combat involve bayonets, automatic guns, tanks, grenades and gas warfare. Humans, as well as animals, endure injuries and harsh treatment. (Two soldiers are shot for leaving their posts.)

Yet looking through the unbiased eyes of this horse conscripted to service, audiences will find sacrifices made by men and beasts fighting for their country’s cause. And in the middle of the chaos reigns the love of one young man for his horse.

War Horse is rated PG-13: for intense sequences of war violence.

Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Jeremy Irvine, Emily Watson, David Thewlis
Studio: 2011 Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Website: Official site for War Horse.

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About the Reviewer: Kerry Bennett

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