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!
SPOILER He dies END OF SPOILER
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...
SPOILER She dies END OF SPOILER
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.
SPOILER They get shot END OF SPOILER
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?