As most of you know, I was so very fortunate to attend the world premiere of War Horse and, meet many of the actors afterward, in New York earlier this month. Last week I took my mom to see the advance preview of the film. Viewing the film a second time was an equally memorable experience. Watching the actors again, now that I’ve met and talked to some of them, was very exciting. I viewed it through different eyes.
The movie is beautifully done and evoked emotions on so many levels. First, it feels like an old classic epic movie. The story is told elegantly on a grand scale. I was brought to tears of joy and sadness, and overcome with emotion by the sheer beauty of the film.
War Horse is a movie about the ravages of World War 1 – the Great War. It depicts the changes of warfare from old world and new world – modern guns, bullets and bombs pitted against foot soldiers and cavalry. We see the war through the innocent eyes of young farm boy, Albert Narracott, as he faces the loss of his precious horse, Joey, to the British Cavalry. An honorable British officer promises Albert that his horse will be cherished and cared for. Through the film’s visual feast we see how no one in Europe was untouched by the Great War. The horse, Joey, embarks on an extraordinary journey from his lovely English farm, changing hands from British, to German and back to British and somehow inspiring the lives of all those he meets – man or horse. Several scenes left an indelible impression on me, and touched me beyond my ability to control my emotions.
World War I has become somewhat of a forgotten war and has not often been portrayed in film. From War Horse, I learned about trench warfare, no man’s land, and mustard gas, while enjoying the beautiful, sweeping grandeur of the English countryside of Devon. The movie perfectly portrayed the conflict between war and the earth’s beauty. The movie’s message of our commonality as world citizens, in peaceful snatches, was a heartwarming gift – especially at this season of the year.
War Horse is a family film, but because of the war theme, I wouldn’t recommend it for younger children – it appropriately has a PG-13 rating. Depending on the maturity of your youngster, I think a mature 10-12 year old would benefit from the movie. Because it’s a war movie, there’s a lot of death and loss, but tastefully done with no gore. WarHorse should be a part of high school curriculum when teaching World War I history. It’s bound to be a classic.
John William’s musical score evoked emotion throughout the movie. I’m very much a musical person, and the movie hit the mark perfectly. The movie’s cinematography is an exquisite, visual feast. The last scene alone is breathtaking!
So to sum it up – you must see War Horse! It’s educational, emotional, heartwarming, heartbreaking, beautiful, and touching on so many levels. The best movie I’ve seen in a long time and bound to be a classic. War Horse will be in theaters on Christmas Day!!
For Knowledge Sake, here are some brief facts about World War I:
- Began in 1914 with the assassination of the Austria Archduke Ferdinand by a Serbian nationalist and ended in Nov. 1918 with the signing of the Armistice.
- All hostilities didn’t completely end until sign of Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
- U.S. involvement began in 1917 from fear of unrestricted submarine warfare and the sinking of the passenger ship Lusitania.
- Total loss of life about 10 million, Two-Thirds in battle and the remaining from disease,
including the Spanish Flu epidemic.
-6 million from Entente Powers (Britain, France, U.S. Japan Russia and Italy)
-4 million from Central Powers (Austria-Hungary, Germany and Turkey)
-American losses were just over 56,000.
Some 1 million horses were killed in battle.
The complexion of European borders were drastically changed as Europe shifted from
Imperialism to more modern governments and the world saw the collapse of the Austria-
Hungary Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the abdication of the German Kaiser and the
capture/assassination of the Russian Tsar.
Introduction of modern warfare with submarines, planes, tanks and automatic weaponry,
yet most soldiers were on foot or on horseback.
*Disney/Dream Works covered my expenses for my trip to NYC for the red carpet world premiere and events.