War Horse

Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
Watch On
  1. Reviewed by: Joe Morgenstern
    Dec 29, 2011
    60
    The result is a film that may stay in the mind's eye longer than it lingers in the heart.
  2. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Dec 26, 2011
    60
    Has the sweep of a classic John Ford movie, the sentiment of Frank Capra and a spirited steed named Joey who will steal your heart. The film itself is more difficult to love.
  3. Reviewed by: Elizabeth Weitzman
    Dec 22, 2011
    60
    While the Tony-winning play based on the same book creates unexpected impact through strikingly inventive puppetry, Spielberg is at a disadvantage in employing such a literal approach. Not even animals as beautiful as these can substitute for human ingenuity and imagination.
  4. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Dec 15, 2011
    60
    This beautifully composed picture brings a robust physicality to tried-and-true source material, but falls short of the sustained narrative involvement and emotional drive its resolutely old-fashioned storytelling demands.
  5. Reviewed by: Andrew O'Hehir
    Dec 26, 2011
    50
    It's almost a great war movie in one direction, and almost a piece of irredeemable cheese in the other, and there you have it.
  6. Reviewed by: Ben Sachs
    Dec 22, 2011
    50
    This may seem slick and sentimental, but beneath the surface is a film every bit as morbid as "A.I. Artificial Intelligence," which also used a nonhuman protagonist to contemplate human death on a mass scale.
  7. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Dec 22, 2011
    50
    Spielberg's typically emotive storytelling only comes to the fore in a few of the film's pivotal action scenes, a couple of which are truly spectacular and remind us only all too well of what this film might have been.
  8. Reviewed by: Jaime N. Christley
    Dec 21, 2011
    50
    What ultimately hobbles War Horse is a two-pronged attack, with Spielberg's soft-sell producing an unfortunately dramatic flatness in almost every scene, while an 11th-hour scramble for picture-book catharsis doesn't seem to work either.
  9. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Dec 27, 2011
    40
    War Horse is a bland, bizarrely unimaginative piece of work. [2 Jan. 2012, p.79]
  10. Reviewed by: J. Hoberman
    Dec 20, 2011
    40
    Since he's (Spielberg) a director largely incapable of understatement, War Horse is served up with a self-aggrandizing, distracting surplus of Norman Rockwell backlighting, aerial landscape shots designed to out-swoop David Lean's, and an aggravated sense of doggone wonderment amplified by the director's dependence on John Williams's bombastic score.
  11. Reviewed by: Amy Nicholson
    Dec 16, 2011
    40
    Director Steven Spielberg doesn't have a steady grip on War Horse's careening tone, but he'll be damned if there's not 15 minutes in there for everyone.
User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 308 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 70 out of 123
  2. Negative: 30 out of 123
  1. Dec 26, 2011
    2
    SPOILERS - This war film insults my intelligence. They attack the German camp - which has zero guards and protection. After storming throughSPOILERS - This war film insults my intelligence. They attack the German camp - which has zero guards and protection. After storming through they are met in the woods with a batterie of German cannon that are inexplicably pointed directly at the German Camp. Were the Germans planning on firing upon themselves just before the English attacked? If they want to win the horse in the second auction, why do they wash and dress the horse to make it look attractive to buyers? Why not make the horse appear lame and get him cheap? Full Review »
  2. Dec 25, 2011
    2
    Well, what do you know. Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse' is a stunningly bad movie, from beginning to the end. Is it beautifully made? Sure, itWell, what do you know. Steven Spielberg's 'War Horse' is a stunningly bad movie, from beginning to the end. Is it beautifully made? Sure, it is Spielberg, after all. Does it matter? Not one single bit. Because from the amazingly bad plot concept to its ultimately pointless conclusion, this is Spielberg at his worst. It is one of the Worst movies of the year. Full Review »
  3. Dec 26, 2011
    2
    I do not recommend to go see this movie, I expected much more from a Spielberg direction. Bad plot, unexplained solutions... Where is PrivateI do not recommend to go see this movie, I expected much more from a Spielberg direction. Bad plot, unexplained solutions... Where is Private Ryan?.... The scenery is indeed beautiful however it does not make up for the bad script and painful shortcuts. No, No and No. Full Review »