Movie Review: Warhorse

Details from IMDB:

War Horse Poster

War Horse (2011)

PG_13 146 min  -  Drama | History | War  -   25 December 2011 (Canada)

Ratings: 7.2/10 from 29,684 users   Metascore: 72/100
Reviews: 311 user | 274 critic | 40 from

Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert’s hopeful journey takes him out of England and across Europe as the war rages on.

Initial Thoughts:

I had heard a lot of good things about this movie and of course it was nominated for 6 Oscars (including best picture). That combined with Steven Spielberg, a war movie (I love movies about history) and the animal connection and it was only a matter of time until I saw it. Luckily for me I found a theatre here in Florida that was still showing it last week (and for $2) so we checked it out Smile.

Main Points:

The story begins with an English farmer bidding on a thoroughbred horse. He is soon in a bidding war with his landlord which he decides (in a slightly drunken state) to win despite the fact that it will make it difficult for him to pay his rent.

The son, Albert (played very well by Jeremy Irvine) falls in love with the horse (don’t get any weird ideas, you know what I meant Open-mouthed smile) and names him Toby. The horse soon proves his worth as Albert gets him to plough a harsh piece of land in front of the house. The mother, Rose, is played splendidly by Emily Watson as she manages to be both stern and tender at the right moments.

Returning to the plot, the crop fails after a bad storm and the father, Ted (played by Peter Mullan) is forced to sell Toby to the British Army (the movie began just before World War I). Albert tries to enlist but he is too young and must let Toby go.

For a good portion of the movie we see the exploits of Toby, who becomes a fine warhorse. He is ridden into battle by the English only to end up with his rider killed and then the horse ends up with the Germans.

Meanwhile Albert is delivered a letter from the dead British officer with a drawing of his horse and his mind is completely made to go to war as soon as he is of age.

As usual I am skipping over parts here. I think one of the incredible things here is that the main character of this movie is a horse and yet Spielberg pulls it off and you care about the horse and also through his eyes see the horrible death, destruction, waste and ultimate folly of war.


In particular there is a moving scene where Toby is caught up in barb wire after running through No Man’s Land in France. An American and a German solider put aside there differences to help cut him out. It is a great scene and shows the bizarre nature of World War I (in reality the troops at the front stopped fighting on Christmas Day to eat dinner together, only to go back to shooting at each other the next day.)

I’m a huge animal lover and I found several scenes of the movie particularly touching. When Albert (who becomes a hero by clearing out an enemy trench) is wounded by mustard gas he ends up near Toby who has just been brought in as the “miracle horse”.

Albert, who has been temporary blinded, using a special whistle he trained Toby with back in England to get the horse to come to him. Toby was about to be put down due to his wounds but the doctor is so touched by the man’s love of his horse that he spares him.

Ultimately Albert gets to bring Toby home to his parents and has a beautiful scene with his mother, father, his beloved companion and his home.

Final Thoughts:

I loved this movie but I will admit that the story could be a little slow at times. It does a great job showing how pointless war is and how that if someone could show love, compassion and understanding over a horse, why can’t they do it for each other? Furthermore I think it shows that anyone who displays cruelty to animals is only 1 step away from doing it to human and the same applies that those in the movie who are kind to animals (Toby in particular) posses a goodness that perhaps other do not.

I would highly recommend this movie.Thumbs up As it comes out on DVD/Blue Ray in a few weeks. I give it a strong 8/10, it delivers action, drama and displays just how insane war really is and what an incredible director Spielberg still is.




  1. Now I am really wanting to see this movie! Sounds great.


    • It was excellent 🙂 You should really check it out. I don’t know why it didn’t win any Oscars, very well done in every way 🙂 thanks for the comment!

Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s