War Horse 2011 ~ Review

We watched this movie recently for my sisters birthday, and here's a review! This was the second time I watched this, and it was nice to recognise more actors the second time. This, dramatic, epic and moving story is about a horse, Joey, who gets sold, bought, and tossed around from owner to owner. He was happy with Alfred Naracott, but had to be sold when the First World War arrived, to be used in the army. Rest assured, all ends well with Joey, but there are many, many sad things about this movie.
I thought Alfred Naracott, the main character and owner of the horse, was very well cast. Alfred is a handsome young lad (he reminds me a little of John-boy, Emma ;) who, when he is determined to do something, he does it- whatever is in the way. He's tough, strong and has a passionate love for horses. He loves Joey dearly and it almost breaks his heart when his father is forced to sell it when a war breaks out.
Alfred was very well acted by Jeremy Irvine, who also acted in a very late production of 'Great Expectations' (which I have not seen). He had a very smart accent, and- he was just really good.
His parents, Ted and Rosie Naracott, were also very well cast by Peter Mullan and Emily Watson (Miss Potter, The Book Thief, The Mill on the Floss). Ted Naracott, a dreamy, empty-headed man who always seems to take the wrong decisions, and Rosie, a sensible and practical sweet lady, who constantly worries about her farm (understandable!)
I believe everyone was excited to see Benedict Cumberpatch (Sherlock, Amazing Grace...) and Tom Hiddleston (Return to Cranford) together, side by side in this film! I thought Captain James Nicholls and Major Jamie Stewart were so funny together, always competition-ing and- just those two actors together was priceless!
SPOILER Tom Hiddleston died. END OF SPOILER
Alfred Naracott's friend Andrew Easton plays a rather minor role, but I have to add him because, gentle readers, he was acted by Matt Milne, who's the footman Alfred in Downton Abbey! I recognised him this time, and squealed when I saw Alfreeed!
It was so funny because Alfred in Downton is shy, polite and serious, and Andrew is silly, giggly and cheeky. His character was so different that it made me hysterical!
Emilie is the girl who's into a surprise one morning when she finds two horses, Joey and the black one (forgot his name) in her grandpa's barn. She grows very fond of them both, but especially Joey. When the Germans steal away the two horses, she's immensely sad and almost breaks her heart. In fact she does because...
Her grandpa was sweet and always concerned about his grand-daughter's health and care. I felt so sorry for him, because he ends up all alone. I really think he ought to end happy.
Emilie was a sweet girl, but her accent annoyed me a little. She's supposed to be French, but just to please us watchers, she speaks in a rather aggravating accent. Anyways, she was sweet and she deserved more than she had. I loved the scene where she puts the two horses in her bedroom.
But my favourite scene of all of the 'no mans land' scene. That's just such a beautiful, lovely, touching scene. I cried when I watched this. A British soldier spots 'War Horse' wounded and stuck in barbed wire in 'no mans land' (land not belonging to either party) and, after waving a white flag, goes to help the horse.
Then a German soldier comes out of his trench to lend the English soldier a wire-cutter. Together, the two soldiers who normally shoot and kill each-others men, become friends and help the horse. They decide who the horse belongs to by tossing a coin. The English one gets it. :D
Quotes in this scene:
English soldier: You speak good English.
German soldier: I speak English well.
English: In a weeks time we'll be shooting each-other here again.
German: How are things over in yonder trench?
English: Couldn't be better. And with you?
German: We smoke, knit pullovers and teach our rats how to perform circus tricks.
English: If you ever need some more you can call us 'cos we've got enough of them.
War Horse in his best scene- on his way to no-body's land. Don't ask me how they filmed this scene.
The Schroder brothers, two German soldiers, Gunther and Michael grow to like the War Horse as well. When Gunther becomes really worried because Michael (only fourteen) goes to fight, he takes the two horses, grabs his brother whilst racing on the horses and they both run away from camp. They hide in a wind-mill, but get found in the night.

Of course, I have to write something about Joey- after all, he is the main character. Apparently, Joey was acted by a different horse in every scene, but I didn't notice anything about that.

Normally, I don't care much about horsey movies, but -although it was perhaps a trifle too horsey- it was okay.

Anyway, Joey, was a magnificent horse- so strong and courageous. A true War Horse!
The ending made me cry. When Alfred came back on Joey and silently hugs his mother and father after a long, horrendous war, that just made me cry. To see at least one family together and whole. After all the horrible scenes of war, fighting, killing and horrible circumstances, to see one family again like they were before the war, was so touching.
I am rather sensitive when it comes to movies, so I cannot say I really enjoyed this movie. It was very lovely, and I certainly understand why people love it, but it's just too sad and too scary for me.
After watching this, one grasps the full meaning and one realises how horrendous the WW1 was. They show it so well- and show us the full reality of how it was. Downton Abbey shows it well, but here it's shown even better- it seems even worse than shown in Downton.
What those poor men must have suffered then! I cannot bare thinking about it. My father said his grandfather fought in WW1 and that when he- as a boy- asked him about it, he simply would not talk about it. That war haunted and hurt and killed millions- there wasn't anyone who, when the war ended, didn't mourn about someone dying.
This movie shows us how horrible it was. How it was for a soldier to kill and fight and too see and survive. Actually, hardly anyone survives (you'll know this if you read all the SPOILERS in this post.)
I would recommend this movie, but only for older viewers. This movie isn't exactly my sort of film because, as I said, I am very sensitive about those sort of movies- I just cannot see all those people and horses suffering- I just don't like it.
But that's just me- My sister and my parents and my brother loved it, and I really understand why. So if you're a strong type who is 'strong' enough to watch these sort of movies, I do recommend. If you're like me, I do recommend it, but I also recommend you closing your eyes in some scenes. I did.
This movie had witty scenes, some funny scenes, lots of moving and crying scenes and some violent scenes. 
Oh yes, the scenery at the Naracott's farm was BEAUTIFUL. Really. I want to go and live there one day. :-)

Have you seen War Horse?
What did you think of it?


My book ~ An Interview

My book (which I've just started and is not at all yet finished) which is based on the plot explained in the examples in my post 'how to find a good plot', is now interviewed by myself. (Some of the questions are taken from Miss Dashwood's blog, 'the Quest for stories')

~What's the name of your project? When did you first come up with the idea? And how long have you been working on it?
My novel is called Suxbury village. Basically the title is a little like Cranford- you know, there’s a little village, and the story takes place there. Citizens fall in love or make enemies with each-other, and almost everything comes out of the village.
I came up with the idea- I don’t know really. I had made myself a neat little plot and I decided it would take place in an exact replica of Cranford- Suxbury Village there you go!
I’ve been working on it for- let’s see- just two months or so? Yes, I know- it’s dangerously new, so I might well stop soon. But I’m still really enthusiastic about it and hope very much to finish it well. I’m currently on my second chapter.
~Sum up your novel in five words or less.
A different, younger Cranford 
~Who is your favourite character?  Tell us about him or her.
My favourite character is Martha, Mary’s older and closest sister. Firstly, I like her because she’s such immense fun to write about! Secondly, I like her because she’s such a dreamy-head and because she’s so funny. Sometimes she’s an immensely wild tomboy, and then she’s a sweet elegant lady.
~Where does your novel take place?  What time period?
It takes place in England, in Suxbury village, which is an exact replica of Cranford. My story is set in the Edwardian Era.
~Do you have a theme song for your story?  What is it?
A rooling, wooling, dancy waltz.
~What's been the hardest part to write so far?
The part where the hero, Mr Matthew Knightley asks Mary to dance. I don't know why, but I just had problems writing this sentence:
‘May I have this dance?’ he asked, making a short and solemn bow.
Ridiculous, I know.

~Which chapter was your favourite so far?
The first. I like writing first chapters. Cough.
~Can you share one of your favourite snippets? 
‘The people in London are snobbish and think only of money.' began Mr Knightley. 'My mother forced me to ask the most ridiculous ladies to dance. Once I danced with a lady who spoke of nothing but lace. She actually managed to engage me into a whole conversation about the dull subject!’
Mary laughed a little, wondering whether Mr Knightley was exaggerating perhaps a little bit. He was talking in a very serious way, but that only made it funnier.
‘No- I take that back,’ said Mr Knightley after a moments pondering. ‘She did not engage me, it wasn’t a conversation, it was a monologue, and it wasn’t dull, it was extremely dull.’
Mary stifled one of her upcoming snorts. ‘You are quite witty sir.’
Mr Knightley smiled. ‘Thank you.’
~Are any aspects of your story drawn directly from your own life?  Give us an example.  
The main character is quite similar to me, and she’s part of a big family, like me. But… for the rest it’s entirely fictional.
~Your main character gets dumped into a big city in the modern era (or if you're writing a contemporary work, he/she gets dumped in medieval London).  How does he/she respond?
Mary looked around, blinked once or twice and decided she was having a nightmare.
~Who's the funniest character in your story? Tell us why! Give examples! Support your argument.  :D
 I think one of the funniest characters is Peggy, Mary’s younger sister, who’s exactly like Anne Shirley (only a shade less chatty). She has some rather melodramatically funny quotes. One of them:
‘Yes mama,’ mumbled Peggy through her tears. ‘It’s just that- I had looked forward to it so much! You cannot know how it feels. I am currently doomed into a pool of wretched hopes, buried forever.
She’s funny because she doesn’t know she is.
~If you were forced to eliminate a character from your story--just wash them clean off the slate--who would it be?
I would clean off Ethel Yateson, Ella, Mary’s best friend’s younger sister. She has a rather minor role which I would easily miss.
~Do you plan on writing a sequel to your novel?
No sirree. I’ve got enough with one book.
~Do you have a dream-cast for your characters?
Well, I've got a face for everyone, so yes, I do have a dream cast. This is the main family in the story: the family Dimmer:
Mr Dimmer: I only know that he's in the movie 'it's a beautiful world', but I don't know anything else.
Mrs Dimmer: Julia Sawalha- Jessie Brown in Cranford
Estelle Dimmer (23): The eldest girl is a slightly younger version of Lady Adelaide (Olivia Grant) in Lark Rise to Candleford.
Martha Dimmer (20): Someone in 'Meet me at St Louis'. That face is Martha to a T.
John Dimmer (19): Dick Dewy in 'Under the Greenwood tree'.
Mary Dimmer (18): Ah the main character. She looks like a young Julie Andrews.
Henry Dimmer (16): Ben Walton
Peggy Dimmer (14): A young Winona Ryder.
Scott Dimmer (10): Harry in Cranford
Roland Dimmer (7): Also someone in 'it's a beautiful world', but I don't know his name.
I hope that introduced you to the family Dimmer and Suxbury Village in general!


Top ten Movies

1. Pride and Prejudice (1995)
As most of you probably know, Pride and Prejudice 1995 is my all-time favourite movie ever. It will always be, you just wait and see! I hardly have anything bad to say about this movie. The actors are brilliant, the costumes and scenery are brilliant, the music is beautiful and everything else is perfect as well. Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle are perfect in their famous roles as Elizabeth and Darcy. I am very proud to be one of the many P&P95 fans.
If you haven't seen this movie, you are definitely missing something out! This witty and charming movie is a must see for everyone. You can read my enthusiastic review here.

2. Emma (2009)
The 2009 adaption of Jane Austen's Emma starring the talented Romola Garai and the handsome Johnny Lee Miller is bright, lively and extremely diverting. The costumes are to die for, and scenery is simply delightful. I fell in love with Mr Knightley from the first moment I watched it- therefore my fandom!

3. Downton Abbey
Filled this an endless amount of lovely characters, witty cast, amazing scenery and the beautifullest clothes in the world, the Downton Abbey series is and will stay one of my all-time favourites. Seriously, one can find all we want in Downton. Romantic heroes (Matthew Crawley :-), beautiful heroines, dances, music- everything!
Emma, Sadie and I have recently started up a blog for our shared Downton Abbey fandom. You can visit it here.

4. The Kings Speech
Upon recently re-watching this gripping and moving true story, I suddenly realised how much I loved the Kings Speech. Sadly, there are a lot of bad words in this movie, but for the rest I cannot find anything wrong with it. It makes me cry, it makes me laugh.
And, better still, both Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle act in it! Although not a couple in this movie, it was so nice to see Darcy and Elizabeth together again!

 5. Wives and Daughters (1999)
I have watched Wives and Daughters several times, and each time again I love it dearly! Molly is as sweet as a heroine can be, the costumes are amazing and the scenery is breath-taking. This is my favourite Elizabeth Gaskell movie and book!

6. Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet are perfect in their roles as Eleanor and Marianne. Sense and Sensibility is another lovely Jane Austen story, with another very witty script (by Emma Thompson) and very good actors.
The costumes are very nice, although not brilliantly outspoken. The music is beautiful, and the in the whole, this movie is a delight to watch.

7. Cranford
Cranford will always delight me. It's many characters, story plots, twists and turns, never fail to charm its viewers. When I watched this movie first, I remember being so annoyed whenever an episode ended, because I always wanted to know what was coming next!!!
I have (sadly) not yet been able to watch Cranford's almost-as-famous sequel 'Return to Cranford', but I look forward to it with great anticipation!

8. Pollyanna (2003)
This charming adaption of Pollyanna, the cheerful girl who finds that ever cloud has a silver lining, is beautiful, moving and absolutely perfect. It's a great favourite in our family.
What I especially like in the version is firstly that David Bamber plays in it, and that there's a romantic story between Nancy, the lovely maid, and Tom, the servant. It's such a sweet romance. Of course, Pollyanna and the story in general is beautiful as well. It's a must-see!

9. Anne of Green Gables
Of course. No list is complete without this lovely classic. AnnE of Green Gables, is a beautiful movie, a wonderful story. Enchanted by Anne's world since I was very young, this story has inspired me in many ways in my life. It will definitely continue to do so!

10. Lark Rise to Candleford
Upon recently viewing the first season of this delightful series for the first time, I have become quite a fan. My beloved Julia Sawalha acts in it, and many other known actors act in this as well. I am very much looking forward to watching the next series!
Other Movies I enjoyed:
Amazing Grace
The Sound of Music
Mary Poppins
The Fiddler on the Roof
North and South
Jeeves and Wooster
Northanger Abbey
Martin Chuzzlewit
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Little House on the Prairie
Gone with the Wind
My Fair Lady
Pickwick Papers
The Secret Garden
The Borrowers
The Railway Children
Movies I want to see:
Too much.


Just William (2010) ~ Review

I have recently watched 'Just William' (2010) with my siblings, and we all enjoyed it a lot (more than I expected.) But still, it is not a perfect movie, and definitely not on my top-ten list (because there are so many which are far nicer.)
For those of you who have never heard about the William series, it is about a very cheeky schoolboy of about ten, who gets into mischief the whole time and so on. It's a very funny movie, and it's very well cast!

The Brown Family
William is the cheekiest boy probably ever put to screen. Unfortunately he's a tad too rude sometimes and looses his respect towards the elder generation, including his dad and mum. As me and my many siblings watched this movie, I almost began to feel afraid that my brothers would mayyybe copy that example a bit.
Luckily, they didn't. :-P
But some children might think that William is a perfect role-model, which he isn't. William is played by the very talented Daniel Roche, who- I believe- has not acted in any other movies I know of.
Some funny "Just William" conversations:

Mother: William, just to say that Ethel's in quarantine.
William: What! It's so unfair! You get to go to Africa, and now Ethel's in Quarantine! Why don't I get to go somewhere?

Father: William, you should be kind to everyone.
William: Should I be kind to Hitler?

Ethel's boyfriend (talking about Ethel with the measles): This is awful news.
William (talking about his dead mouse): Yes, it is. Awful.
Ethel's boyfriend: 'Cos she seemed all right yesterday.
William: She was. I think it was eating those berries.
Ethel's boyfriend: What berries?
William: The one Ginger gave us.
Ethel's boyfriend (Ginger's older brother): Ginger? Ginger gave some berries?
William: Yeah. He got them from his garden- she ate them all.
Ethel's boyfriend: But I heard in the village it was measles!
William: No, it's worse than that. She's dead. She died in the night.
Ethel's boyfriend: What!

Haha. I love that scene!

Another rather "silly" thing in this movie which annoyed me excessively was the boy-girl relationships between tiny little kids. It's like a romance is going on! Come on guys, they are KIDS. It
always annoys me terribly when young children go and do mushy and sentimental stuff.
Okay yes, I do it, and I'm young, but that's different. I'm in love with fictional characters, such as Mr Knightley, Matthew Crawley and Mr Darcy. That's different. MUCH different.
William normally abhors girls- he cannot STAND Violet Elizabeth, the new neighbours girl- but he likes the other side neighbours girl, who gave him the skin of a dead frog, which- according to William- was the best present he had ever received.
So to make a long story short, William is hilarious, but not a good role model. But still, I cannot help but like him.
I really loved William's mother (in all the episodes but one), Mrs Brown (Rebecca Front). Some of you may recognise her as Mrs Bennet in 'Death Comes to Pemberly' (which I have not yet watched).

I like Mrs Brown, because she so calm and handles things so wittily. For example when her oldest son Robert says he leaving house to go on strike, she says something like 'Thank you for telling me, now I know I will have to cook for four instead of five.' She didn't say that, but it was something like that.
Mr Brown was also extremely funny. He is somewhat less calm than his wife, but he always has dry and sardonic comments, and the his facial expressions crack me up completely (same about William, by the way.)

Ethel Brown, William's older and boy-crazy sister is acted by no-one else but Lily James, who is Rose in Downton Abbey. It was nice to see her as a brunette.

Ethel is similar to Rose in Downton Abbey- they both attract too many men and wear clothes in the utmost fashion. Plus both of them are slightly spoilt and giggly. Ethel had some very pretty dresses and skirts, and although she isn't in the show terribly much, she's a funny character.

Ethel annoyed me because she was a terrible flirt and only used men to get the things she wants. In one of the four episodes called 'Parrots for Ethel' she tells her two current boyfriends that she'd like a parrot.
"Marry me!" the boy on her right squawked.
Ethel looked at him, frowning.
'I-I was just imitating a parrot,' he stammered apologetically.

Like all of the three Brown children, Ethel is silly and not a role model. But as this movie is just a comedy and silly movie, it appears pretty understandable.

Robert Brown, William's older brother is- to my opinion- the worst of the three children. Again, like Ethel, he's not one of the main characters, but he does have a fairly big-ish role. He's always off to somewhere, saying he's going on strike for something, but he always comes back again.

In one funny scene with him, he is writing poetry. My brothers like to quote his stupid poetry: "Oh trees, you make me angry... because your bark is worse than your bite!"
Robert is always unhappy and negative and I really do not like him. Go away.
The annoying and very rich neighbours, the Bott family, were-- um, really... um-- special. Mr Bott whose picky wife keeps on nagging him to lose some weight, is acted by Warren Clark (he had a role in "Call the Midwives" and "Bleak House"). Mrs Bott was downright stingy and irritating, and Violet-Elizabeth their very spoilt girl who teases William excessively, was acted by the very talented Isabella Blake-Thomas.
There were some very lovely dresses in  the Bott family, especially on Violet-Elizabeth's part.

I haven't much to say about the Bott family apart from that they weren't very nice neighbours. Heehee.

There weren't any other familiar characters, apart from the head-master who was acted by Dennis Lawson (Horiato Hornblower, Bleak House and the Importance of Being Earnest).

The Music and the Scenery was very good, especially the Music. It's a vey catchy tune which our family kept on humming for weeks afterwards!
Here's the trailer for you to watch:

I'd rate this movie 7/10. I couldn't rate it more than that because of the silly characters, the disrespect William shows and mushy scenes between young children. But I must say we all enjoyed this movie, and it is suitable for younger children. It's lovely if you're sad and want some cheering up!