User Score
6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 287 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 49 out of 287

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  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 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? Expand
  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, 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.
  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 Private Ryan?.... The scenery is indeed beautiful however it does not make up for the bad script and painful shortcuts. No, No and No.
  4. Dec 26, 2011
    5
    The magic of Spielberg is and always has been his ability to touch a part of our hearts with an emotionally charged scene, or spark a part of our brains to make us think about something historical because it has some relevance to our current times. Doing so in the form of a near-flawless film has always been a sensory-enveloping experience. However, with stinkers like The Legend of Zorro, the Transformers series, Cowboys and Aliens, The Lovely Bones, etc, he is losing his luster. While War Horse is a beautifully filmed effort, his ability to be thought-provoking is nearly gone. His ability to stir emotions are earmarked for simple stories appealing to the masses. There is no substance to this stylish attempt. It tries. It tries real hard. It fails. It fails real bad. The weak story and over-dramatic acting do not support what Spielberg as clearly trying to evoke in its audience. Through most of the movie, I was irritated at the pacing and the inability to care about the characters. I kept thinking, "c'mon Spielberg...you are going to turn it around...". Yet, it never came. It was just more of the same pile-on of forced sympathy and brutally extracted emotions. By the time the final scene was dragging out in an almost-parody of Gone With the Wind-style cinematography, I was ready to see the credits. Spielberg's movies used to be a "guarantee." After a string of watered-down mass appeal movies, I will seriously reconsider the desire to see his next. Expand
  5. Feb 13, 2012
    7
    I believe when Steven Spielberg was making "War Horse" he was pulling out that mindset he used to make "ET" and "Saving Private Ryan". I guess I wasn't born it the early Spielberg era where his movies shone with pure passion and love, so honestly it was kinda cheesy to me. But the war portion of the movie was just great. It had strong imagery and visuals with messages saying the bad stuff about war. I know, it's all kinda old style but at least it was watchable so I still give it credit. Expand
  6. Dec 26, 2011
    7
    Above average, but just. The better part of the movie plods along at the pace of a plow horse. Then without warning it descends into mayhem and brutality. At one point (near the end) several people quickly spirited their young children out of the theater. (I hope they got a refund.) We were concerned our twelve year old might not sleep peacefully following it. It wasn't clear to me if we were supposed to live the experience through the eyes of the horse or were stuck in a sort of astral plane above the drama. It tried every trick to yank at your heartstrings but never quite made you feel empathy for any of the characters, human or horse. I'm quick to admit I'm a sucker for a tear jerker and so is my wife but, we came out feeling like we had been manipulated not moved. We never shed a tear. So why the score of seven. We really like uplifting stories about animals. which it was undeniably, just not a great one. Expand
  7. Dec 29, 2011
    4
    They really should have called the "Bore Horse"... How long was it? It seemed like 3 long hours. There were 3 or four good scenes but the rest of the movie dragged on and on. I hate to beat a dead horse but how did this movie review so well?
  8. Jan 9, 2012
    3
    It's so laughably bad it's hard to imagine a leading director made it. The laudatory reviews are completely perplexing. As some one commented already it really is a bizarre combo of "Black Beauty" and " All Quiet on the Western Front." Just read an interview where Spielberg said it's a family movie! Not sure what family enjoys machine gunning lines of soldiers, deadly gas attacks and impaling on barbed wire? No way should kids see this.
    He has made some very interesting movies but subtlety is not in his play book. The plot machinations are laughable swinging from idyllic country to ravaged war zones, and almost every scene is way over the top in terms of emotional manipulation.
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  9. Dec 31, 2011
    4
    Good cinematography, weak story, lazy screenplay, and lackluster direction -- a disappointment. The film has a feel of an outline of a story being made into a film. Animal cruelty further contributes to the awkwardness of the film.
  10. Jan 19, 2012
    4
    A bizarre mix of good and bad scenes. Some scenes are beautifully shot and very well paced. Others are predictable and schmaltzy. There's also infuriating censorship throughout the whole movie. God forbid we see someone get shot in a WAR movie. This movie makes me wish Spielberg would just ditch the horse, make the movie rated R, and do a war movie that actually has emotional resonance. It's hard for me to care about a damn horse when there are thousand of humans dying all around it. Expand
  11. Jan 5, 2012
    5
    Here's the pitch: "Black Beauty meets All Quiet on the Western Front". Hmmm . . . a very odd movie. Starts out as a super slow, cheesy kids movie. Then settles into the horrors of war, including executions, trench warfare, and mustard gas. Then, wants to revert back to a happy, feel good classic cinema event at the end. I don't know. Who is the target audience? You can't take your kids to it because of the war stuff. Not enough plot or story to be effective as a drama. Too heavy handed and cheesy to be a true gritty commentary on the horrors of war. I don't know. Just felt like it tried to be too many different things and wasn't good at any of them. Midway through, started joking with my friend that the movie was really about a cursed horse who brings ruin, death, or despair to any who's path it crossed. That made it a lot better, and held pretty true throughout. I understand what Spielberg was trying to do, create a package that has something for everyone, nods to classic cinema, cheesy feel good pull your heart strings stuff, and also comments on the horror of war, but I just felt like all that stuff shouldn't really go together in the same movie, they just didn't coexist well. And, in the end, there just wasn't enough of a plot, and it was too cheesy and heavy handed. If you really like horses, or have never seen a horse, and want to feel like you've sat through both a kids movie and Saving Private Ryan in one sitting, then maybe this is for you. Expand
  12. Dec 25, 2011
    10
    It is an emotional journey in full gallop. The project is tailored for Spielberg's 'Saving Private Ryan', a specialist in military history and also for Spielberg's 'ET', the chronicler of infantile wishes and desires family.
  13. Jan 9, 2012
    2
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. While the cinematography might be excellent, the story telling is downright awful. I can't believe that people have rated this movie so high. Lets take a look at a few of the absurdities:


    The horse is bought by a farmer who "knowingly" will not be able to pay the rent on his farm because of it.Then when the horse will not take the yoke he is about to shoot it... rather than sell it and pay his rent!

    The horse is trained by his son who insists on plowing uphill through rocks rather than removing them. Then the neighbours come over to "watch" rather than helping remove them! Then the horse pulls right through a bolder, strong horse strong plough?

    Off to war where the cavalry do a surprise charge through a German camp, only to end up facing German machine gun fire set up on the edge of the forest pointing into their own camp?

    Off to the little girl's farm where they manage to hide two horses in the upper bedroom with soldiers ransacking the place, and they don't make a sound...

    The old man gives her a saddle and she can instantly ride like a pro, but rides over a hill and across a river into the German army, which nobody heard coming!

    All I can say is wow, this really is a classic, critic's choice, full of horse stuff.
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  14. Jan 15, 2012
    3
    Simply awful film. Nothing more than a well polished (visually) made for TV movie. If the horses had spoken it would actually have been a better story!
  15. Jan 16, 2012
    0
    One of the worst movies I have seen in a long time. I am embarrassed that I spent money to see it. It was so unspeakably bad. I am shocked that the man who directed Band of Brothers was able to churn out a war-related that was so foul that I was holding back laughter throughout the movie. Just horrendous.
  16. Jan 28, 2012
    2
    A really tedious, saccharine, obvious, bland, boring, grossly sentimental attempt at a throwback to the "good old days" of sweeping Hollywood emotional epics. Just terrible and I just don't get how some well respected critics gave this film glowing reviews. The prevailing emotion while watching alternated between "wow, this really stinks" and "please let it end"! If you want to see a "big" movie with broad emotion go see Hugo, which really is good. Expand
  17. Jan 11, 2012
    4
    It's a collage of two films that don't mix, Akin to A mason jar of Makers Mark bourbon blended up with twinkies. Why did they make " Warhorse" ? Why did they spend $80,000,000 Dollars ? Who is this movie aimed at? "American Velvet" meets " Deathcamp For Dobbin" ? - not a good mix for children ; Don't take your kids, - really. "Lassie Come Home " Meets " Saving Private Ryan, the ghastly parts"
    - Not a good mix for adults. Don't take your friends who just want a holiday film

    Why, then, was this film shoved out the door on Christmas day?

    The sets are nice, the effects are nice, the opening is nice.. the ending is all heartwarming;
    - It's only the middle two hours are kind of a mess.

    Make up your mind, guys, why not just make two films.
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  18. Dec 25, 2011
    8
    Spielberg's War Horse is an unabashedly old-time, feel-good flick done in the style of John Ford (How Green Was My Valley) from the Golden Age of Hollywood. Includes gorgeous cinematography, solid editing, a decent screenplay adaptation, acceptable acting, and a sweeping classic film score by five-time Oscar winner, John Williams. It would be pretty hard not to at least LIKE this one, and War Horse will be enjoyed by most anyone from ages 7 to 97. Grade = B+. Expand
  19. Jan 22, 2012
    3
    CGI horses... That just about sums it up. It's very hard to have empathy for a CGI horse so I went through the movie not really caring much about anything especially when the writing and directing itself is aimed at jelly fish and not humans. Besides that... I haven't read the book but why is the whole thing so ridiculous? It's fiction yes but at least have some integrity. This is not classic Spielberg, god knows what this is and the news of upcoming awards just prove that critics kow tow to Spielberg now due to the fact when he actually did good films, the awards treated him like crap. In the end this not most of us. It's for people who love 3D Studion max who hate actual live scenery and animals.

    I will score it a point for amazing CG work though. If you didn't know what to watch out for, you'd think that they were real. The acting is above par and the score rather grand. So three points in total.
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  20. Jan 22, 2012
    3
    Very slow starting, then picks up in the middle and towards the end. Movie has a clumsy pace. There are some great acting here and there, but overall for me it fell rather flat. Historically, the writers could have done much more research, as I was watching for more of the allies, but apparently WWI only had germans and brits fighting eachother!
  21. Dec 25, 2011
    10
    War Horse is a beautifully crafted film with a soul stirring narrative. It manages to be both heart-warming and heart-wrenching at the same time. The audience empathizes with both the protagonist horse and all of the people who find themselves unexpectedly his caretakers.

    The story is engaging and entertaining, and the pacing is consistently good, and at times, brilliant. Visually, War
    Horse is striking. Warm and breathtaking vistas juxtaposed with the gritty realism of war. John Williams ' score doesn't disappoint, punctuating the film's emotional highs and lows with the perfection only such an auteur is capable of.

    Spielberg has created another epic cinematic winner, the like of which hasn't been seen since his Saving Private Ryan. Overall, a most enjoyable film and surely one of the year's best.
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  22. Dec 28, 2011
    2
    Spielberg movies have to hook you from the start or you're going to feel like a sourpuss at the positivity party. I felt like the latter during this movie. At times, the sentimentality could be cringe-inducing and the dramatic developments were so infused with nostalgia that I started to get uncomfortable. All movies are manipulative in some way, but this one is so obviously intent on making you emotional that it's creepy. Plus, I'd just seen the documentary Buck, and it was hard not to think of the horses being directed to hit their marks while we're expected to view them as free-thinking characters. Expand
  23. Dec 28, 2011
    0
    If you like Lifetime Movie Network movies, you will love War Horse. I hate them; they insult my intelligence. This movie was a huge disappointment, and I left the theatre before it was over. Very poor acting; plot was corny and trite.
  24. Jan 1, 2012
    5
    This movie is good but i thought it was veary sad and depressing it was so unrealistic and we do not need to see the dead bodies of the animals and humans but i did like it in some ways well it was ok. I think it should be rated R with all the violence and dead boddies shown!!!!And the swaring!
  25. Jan 8, 2012
    0
    This has to be one of the worst films I have ever seen. Total lack of action from the first minute and even the horses acting was sloppy. I want my monet back NOW
  26. Jan 17, 2012
    2
    This really is a bad film, Catherine Cookson meets Walt Disney with a bit of James Herriott and Heidi for good measure. The result, appallingly embarrassing sugary script which annoys from start to finish, combined with an over the top musical score and hideous pseudo German/French/Belgian accents. Just whereabouts on the Somme was this working windmill in beautiful pasture supposed to be? Spielberg should really have been made this film for children. Saving grace, some good cinematography, but little else. Must appeal to some though, given the blubbing in nearby seats. Expand
  27. Sep 6, 2012
    0
    I really hated this movie, mind numbing saccharin rubbish!! It encapsulates everything that is wrong with mainstream American cinema. It takes an adapted young adult book that enjoyed serious success as a stage adaptation in the UK, rapes it and turns into a great chunk of sickly American cheese that will be lapped up by the typical cinema goer who has had their senses dulled by a lifetime of movie drivel. Sadly for them they will not recognise that the script is ridiculous and immature, the plot is seriously underdeveloped, the characters are one dimensional and improbable, many scenes are silly with no understanding of the WWI era or effort to even mask their unlikelihood (e.g the horse making no noise in the windmill while the Germans search not to mention the nice clean Brady Bunch farm) and the unmitigated offence of wasting top actors talents. All this is accentuated with John Williams contemporary score that blows any early 20th century credibility out of the water as well as the rehashed snippets of earlier work (Indiana Jones theme) that pop out if you listen carefully. I found the music as insulting as the rest of this woefully crappy offering and ended up becoming angry that my time was being wasted watching it. I stopped watching when it got to the auction and all the characters the horse had come across miraculously converged in the yard. Just stupid. Spielberg should be heartily ashamed of himself. I truly hated the hatchet job he did on the timeless classic War of the Worlds but at least I got to the end of that. I couldn't finish this. If you have any movie integrity do not see this horrendous offering. Expand
  28. Apr 27, 2012
    4
    Considering the 'budget', what a disappointment. Too saccharine, with shades of 'Gone With the Wind' over-the-top drama. Great story potential, but Spielberg failed to make this work - on child or adult level.
  29. Dec 30, 2011
    7
    Spielberg's live-action holiday entry is an adoption of the novel and play about an intrepid, remarkable horse and the people who cared for it. It starts on an English farm, where a young boy raises and trains Joey. With the onset of World War I, Joey travels involve the British and German armies and a French girl. All shot in a lush, low-angle, highly-lit version of Hollywood in the Golden Age. There's no denying that Speilberg is a master storyteller and this film has some spectacular sequences. It's also full of emotional twists and turns that left many in the cinema wiping their eyes. For me, I appreciated the craft more than I cared about the characters. Expand
  30. Dec 26, 2011
    7
    There is an old movie called the Yellow Rolls Royce, where you see the various owners during the life of the car. At one point the car is used in the war to transport soldiers. This movie is basically the same plot but with a horse. I was expecting a sappy family film based on the trailer, but instead saw a shockingly graphic war film. This film is definitely not for kids. Although the acting is good throughout, the star is the horse Joey. The cinematography set in Devon, England is gorgeous. You will wonder how he filmed some of the scenes with the horse. When the horse falls, or gets intertwined in barbed wire it looks absolutely real, and horrifying. As I stated, take kids at your discretion, I do not recommend it. Although this is not a great Spielberg film such as Close Encounters or E.T., it is a good one and held my attention throughout. Expand
  31. May 2, 2012
    6
    tedious, slow, somewhat emotionally manipulative, it was nothing extraordinary, but recognize good photography, montage and art direction. Spielberg did his job but went out of his usual war movie, this was very normally.
  32. Jan 2, 2012
    4
    Who is this movie made for? It is all over the place. I can see how the play would be good however Speilberg stretches out the exposition at the beginning like a freshman film student then he ends it like the expert he is. Go for the last 30 minutes and you will be fine, everything before that just drags and is inconsistent. Speilberg I'm wondering is becoming Altman and Kobrick... when they lost their connection with the audience. Expand
  33. Mar 2, 2012
    5
    Beautifully shot movie, excellent scenery, attracting but its events are thinly related. The good point is the new actor, the war horse, no human did match him. The poor is the scenario , sometimes slow, other times fast, most of the time beyond logic, events are basically cut and paste, how, why, where, when, no answer. It is a lengthy movie that will attract you and bore you, over its course. The war horse is the prime motive, disregarding other cinematography logic and requirements. Anyhow it is worse seen, it is not a regrettable experience. Expand
  34. Jan 1, 2012
    7
    War Horse features incredible performances and just stunning film work. And its mighty story can feel very unrealistic and cheesey because it is. War Horse is packed with too much heart and emotion to actually give this a bad rating even though you should. I give this movie 72%.
  35. Dec 31, 2011
    3
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This definitely is not a war-movie as some claim. Only interesting scene in the movie was the conversation in "No-man's Land" between the British and German soldier. Expand
  36. Jan 8, 2012
    3
    Yet another movie that uses the backdrop of war to bring guy to what otherwise would be a boring and predictable chick flick. The directing seems fair, as well as most of the acting, but the story and editing seems to really make the movie fall apart at the seams. The movie blazes through WWI where years seem to pass by over night, with no exposition. There are no battle scenes at all in the movie, something that I would not think possible in a movie called War Horse. Instead we are given scenes with soldiers either running from a battle or hiding while being attacked. There are some exceptions where there is some offensive fighting on the part of the protagonists but they could be condensed into a 30 second clip. Expand
  37. Feb 4, 2012
    6
    War Horse is the last movie of the Spielberg collection and as well as those the theme is very original and attractive. Although the story is very sentimental, it involves the Great War so we get the Spielberg that everyone loves. The plot starts a little bit weak, a boy gets a pet and the animal becomes his friend, but it is consolidated in the cruelest and meanest way, the family is broke and the war has started; the consequence is obviously the sale of the horse to the army. From this point it begins the process to reach the climax, and this is developed in a very strange form: the narrator of the story is the horse, but the animal does it using only images; in other words, everything is surrounded by the presence of the equine.
    The melodramatic parts of the movie compensate its slow development, a great moment is when the young owner of the horse, that has joined the army, is on a trench and is forced to go fighting but he refuses to. Other special part is the one that the animal is trapped in wires, so two men go in order to help it, one is from England and the other from Germany, the amazing thing is that both became friends, but when the horse is released, they must return and fight against each other. The problem of the picture is the ending; the special effects cannot fix the cheap sentimentalism. Definitely Spielberg has done better.
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  38. Jan 11, 2012
    3
    A huge piece of cheesy cheese. Overly sentimental garbage. Tries playing on the heart strings of the audience but it just made me wonder when this pile of nothing would end. It's wall to wall piling up of stereotypical characters in the human rolls and a wonder horse with super intelligence, insightful and a pedagogy ability to teach other horses. If only they had let this same horse both write the manuscript and direct this movie it might have turned out to be something actually worth watching... Expand
  39. Jan 22, 2012
    0
    oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait oscar bait! 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  40. Feb 12, 2012
    0
    the performance of "the boy" was.. well, i laughed at the theater couple of times.. beside that, very bad and boring movie, period.
  41. Jan 30, 2012
    5
    I was a bit wary going into this movie as I thought it might be rubbish but I'd read some really hot reviews so I tried it. Unfortunately, my instincts were right. Generally average acting made impossible at times by simply unbelievable scenarios. The scenes just leap from one to the next with very little flow. Also, I don't mind people talking to horses in movies - but there was so much dialog with the horse (as if it were human), the horse even looked embarrassed at times.

    I had no idea who this film was aimed at - a few scenes were violent and distressing but others could only be appealing to *very* small children. So, I would have to say that the biggest criticism of this film was that it didn't commit - it wasn't a kid's film, in which case I could suffer all the pathetic human-horse conversations and it wasn't anywhere near gritty enough for adults, a common problem with Spielberg - at least there weren't any freaking aliens.....
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  42. Feb 11, 2012
    10
    Spielberg has been ridiculed for shooting his actors from below against impossibly Spielbergian skies and a denouement that lays the love on copiously. But there's nothing simpleminded about how he uses movie magic, as a spell to dispel nihilism, to save us from the worst of ourselves by summoning up the best.
  43. EMP
    Feb 7, 2012
    5
    With a outstanding picture, Spielberg shows a cruel and crude war; but the relationship between the horse and his owners or between both horses are childish instead. Mind you, they look like Lassie or Flipper. It only fault that the miracle horse can read. The movie can hitch me and I enjoyed it but I think it is not for an award.
  44. Feb 8, 2012
    0
    This film is utterly unsatisfying.
    Not even slightly entertaining, some of the performances were utterly laughable, and the script was horrifyingly bad.
  45. Aug 24, 2012
    6
    A beautifully made movie that is above average from the standard fare, but only just. The horse acts amazingly throughout the film, which is empathetic and moving at times. Most of the film trots along at a slow pace, with a few speedier patches. The battle scenes are unrealistic and will leave anyone with military knowledge feeling cheated. Overall, it's a decent animal movie, but don't expect it to be a best picture like the nomination it undeservedly got. Expand
  46. May 25, 2012
    1
    Boring, sugar coated rubbish. I was waiting for Skippy the Bush Kangaroo to tell Albie that Joey had been captured, but not to worry as Lassie had been sent on a suicide mission to rescue him. I thought they could have cast Inspector Rex as the evil German commandant. More of a G rated Walt Disney feel good film than anything else.
  47. Aug 18, 2012
    3
    The best way to disribe this film is sunday afternoon family entertainment. A bit like old yeller and lasie but then with a horse. It's all very clean and uplifting (read sickening) as you would expect from a movie distributed by Walt Disney. For me this doesn't have to win any of it's 4 Oscar nominations as there are many better movies out there!
  48. Jun 21, 2012
    4
    Starts off strong, but changes directions prematurely before any significant attachment can be made to the main character(s). After the first 30 minutes, the next 90 are unbearable as one pointless tragedy transitions into the next making it seem like a bad rendition of Forrest Gump for horses. The ending saves this from being a complete flop, but it's obvious that whoever wrote this truly only worked out the beginning and the end of the script by the time it was green lit. Expand
  49. Jan 26, 2013
    3
    Spielberg's sappy and way over the top production created in a movie which was barely watchable. Knowing the story , I was ready for some sap and suspension of reality, but his approach almost turned it into a farce. What a disappointment!
  50. BKM
    Dec 27, 2011
    7
    War Horse is beautifully filmed and the story is engrossing, but the film never really stirs the soul or evokes any sort of emotional reaction. It is a movie that you watch but never really become a part of. A solid effort from one of the most gifted storytellers in the history of the medium, but not even close to a truly Spielbergian experience.
  51. Jan 19, 2012
    8
    War Horse is a very nice well done movie that focus along with the horse. I really enjoy this movie so much and there's not much to say about it! But for what it is, this is another decent film for Spielberg's best.
  52. Feb 12, 2012
    8
    The best movie so far in 2012. A perfect amount of tragedy and comedy. The plot ran smoothly and it is definitely worth to watch. Although, I would like to know more about the fate of young Emile.
  53. Jan 19, 2012
    7
    It's an epic, and it's grandly filmed, and we get to see war from both sides, but it's predictable and frankly quite shallow. I know it's a family movie so there are no edges to it, and the horse is the star and gets to be anthropomorphic, but it shows once again that Spielberg is a great maker of movies but rarely of great movies. As my grandson (13) said: " I went expecting to see a war movie with a horse in it and got a horse movie with a war in it." Expand
  54. Apr 27, 2013
    3
    War Horse is a tepid Spielberg epic that is both boring and depressing. The history contained within this movie is skimmed so vapidly that it holds no insight whatsoever, and most of the characters don't hang around long enough to forge an attachment to. War Horse was a chore to sit through.
  55. Jan 9, 2012
    8
    A surprise for me that I really liked this movie. Yes it may be a "family" movie about a boy and his horse but you would need a heart of stone not to feel a soft spot for it. Its almost like an art film in that it is so gorgeous to look at from the green English country side to the brown trenches of WW1. I was not expecting much from Spielberg after the disappointment of Tintin but I'm so glad I was wrong and its more like the heart of E.T crossed with the scale and scope of Saving Private Ryan. My only downers is that it was a little too long and the human performances while good are not stand out. However don't let that put you off a great night at the cinema and a return to form for one of cinemas great story tellers. Expand
  56. Apr 23, 2012
    8
    Sometimes a movie is more about entertainment and sometimes more about message. War Horse is more an emotional entertainment vehicle, "Lassie Come Home" on steroids. But its WWI backdrop inevitably has message intrusions I think viewers can't avoid. In an extra features discussion Spielberg says, "this isn't a WWI movie". Sorry Steve, inevitably it is. Unfortunately the mixture of a warm 10,00:1 heartfelt reunion saga against the backdrop of the human and animal slaughter of the first world war creates too much dissonance for those who seem unable to connect with the directors vision - or in this case, particular set of blinders. Expand
  57. Dec 26, 2011
    7
    The story of course is about a horse of course and all its various owners, which works but makes the movie overly long, but probably the biggest flaw is the ET aspect of the movies -- is this a kid's movie or something more, I don't think Speilberg knows and shoots for the middle and never quite hits the right tone for this story. Beautiful photograpy, some wonderful moments, usually the more grown up realistic moments. I had just read a book about WW I and wish that he had steered the story more into what was really happening. Expand
  58. Apr 3, 2012
    8
    Flawed. But there is redemption. The scene with the first attack confused me a bit as the machine guns seemed to be set up behind the camp and pointed in the direction of the camp. I suppose someone with military experience might be able to explain that but it was confusing. I was immediately reminded of All is Quiet on the Western Front as I watched this and some say children shouldn't see this because of the depiction of the horrors of war. Perhaps if more children saw these types of films and the horrors began to register in their minds there might be less war. The cinematography is excellent. The set designs and sound are also excellent. The horses are brilliant. The acting isn't bad either. It's all about the script which seemed to be the problem with a great many films this past year. From Take Shelter to Tree of Life screenplays seemed to find a brick wall and never figured out how to get around them. War Horse is no different than any of the others. Expand
  59. Jan 14, 2012
    10
    This might be Speilbergs best movie to date. Such a pleasure to see an epic film shot withought CGI a real cinematic experience. It has it all superb acting, well edited, beautifully shot, and most of all the marvelous story with it's timeless anti war message, a true classic.
    I do have one major criticism and that is the God awful score. It is so unecessarily and completely over the top
    as to be gratuitious. You have something so lovely and powerful there is no need cue the viewers for the right emotion for this particular scene. I wish Mr. Speilberg would rescore it, the music sets the wrong tone and almost cheapens it.
    Otherwise it is sublime and it will win best cinematography and perhaps best picture as well.
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  60. Jan 17, 2012
    8
    I'd first like to make it clear that I haven't yet had the privilege oof seeing the acclaimed stage show War Horse, so I won't be comparing this film to that, but just judging it on its own terms. Spielberg's first foray into WWI is an unbelievably good looking film - hugely dramatic, sweeping wide shots make the very most out of the pretty Devon countryside as well as the hellish, war-torn battlefields. War Horse doesn't lack heart-string-tugging drama either - the relationship between Albert (Jeremy Irvine) and his horse Joey is compelling from the very beginning of the film, and you really feel like you've gone on the same painful journey they have to find each other again. Gravitas is added, and great performances given by a huge cast of British old-reliables and rising stars - in no particular order, Tom Hiddleston, Benedict Cumberbatch, Emily Watson, David Thewlis and Eddie Marsan, plus reinforcement from international talent in the shape of Liam Cunningham and Niels Arestrup. All the major players in the film make Richard Curtis and Lee Hall's already excellent script dazzle. A special mention should also be saved for Joey the horse, though he was played by numerous equine actors, he makes for a very engaging character - an achievement considering his ability to communicate with us is limited to pawing the ground and horsey facial expressions, so well done to the horse trainers. The horses are arguably as important as the people in this story, just as it should be in a film with "horse" in the title. Spielberg quite rightly acknowledges the loss horrific loss of life, not only of "our brave boys" but of their steeds as well. In one of the most powerful moments in the film, as a British cavalry charge into a German camp is torn to shreds by a line of machine guns concealed in the woods, the camera pulls out to reveal the battlefield absolutely covered with the lifeless bodies of horses. The war element to the film remains shocking, even with a 12A certificate - there is very little blood shown, but the battles are still intense and gut-wrenching. One of Spielberg's many talents is the de-glamorisation of war - you really feel drained and shaken after being dragged over the top with the soldiers frantically dodging machine gun fire in no-man's land. Because of the lower age classification, the Somme battle scene is intense, but not graphic, and I am hugely thankful for this, as if Spielberg had done a Saving Private Ryan with this sequence, it would have been unbearably horrific to watch. At its heart, War Horse is a family epic, so expect melodrama aplenty. Also expect everyone speaking English in heavy accents rather than their native tongues (the most annoying aspect of the film) and a fairytale "happily ever after" at the end. These are pretty minor issues - I don't mind a bit of soppyness now and again, and I guess Spielberg didn't want twelve year-olds losing interest when the foreigners started speaking, and who doesn't love a good old-fashioned Hollywood ending? When a film looks this good, with plenty of great performances, yet another fantastic John Williams score and several soon-to-be-iconic sequences (Joey running the length of no-man's land and the unexpectedly funny and poignant meeting between a German and a British soldier as they work together to free the aforementioned horse from barbed wire both stand out in particular) there's a lot to love about War Horse. It's not quite the classic it might have been, but it's a great, well-meaning family film which shows Steven Spielberg is back on form. Expand
  61. Jan 12, 2012
    8
    I really didn't think I would like this film, even being a big Spielberg fan ("Munich"), but it was way better than I thought. Granted it did have that kinda of cliche, sappy story, but it worked, thanks to the acting and cinematography. Wasn't his best, but still a solid ass film.
  62. Oct 20, 2012
    7
    War horse is an over long flawed premise with a very powerful climax. At two and a half hours running time the beginning sequences can become too long and repetitive. The flawed premise is that millions of people died in world war 1 and yet the film is preoccupied with the life of a horse. However by the end of the film this could be forgiven.
  63. Jan 2, 2012
    8
    Big Steve has once again brought to the screen a gripping story of war, family, sacrifice and redemption. Make no mistake, however, this film is no "Saving Private Ryan." His cinematographer is the same and naturally John Williams has provided an excellent musical score but the protagonist this time is a horse named Joey.

    World War I serves as the back drop, as we follow Joey from an
    English farm to the battlefields of France. Joey has to be sold to an English cavalry officer due to his family's financial misfortunes. He winds up serving with the German army, spending time with a young French girl and her grandfather and ends up stranded in a barb wired section of "no man's land." Spielberg has crafted a satisfying ending to a long (2 hours, 30 minutes) journey for both horse and owner. This movie has none of the blood and gore of Saving Private Ryan although there are plenty of battle scenes and casualties. I have to assume this an attempt to appeal to a wider audience. As much as I loved Saving Private Ryan, it was so emotionally jarring that I can't watch it again from start to finish. War Horse doesn't have that type of impact but it's a good story certainly worth watching more than once. Expand
  64. Jan 8, 2012
    7
    Though I honestly wished Spielberg went into grizzly and challenging territories (much like he did with Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan), how can one not enjoy War Horse. Spielberg went on autopilot when directing this film; with all the familiar 'Spielbergian' charms and sentimentalism layering the story. This came at the expense of a gritty look at the horrors of World War I, however the bulk of emotion that loomed elsewhere in the story was almost enough to compensate. The film was handsomely produced with bold cinematography, and a pounding sound design amongst other things. The film was quite good, and its self awareness made it even better. Expand
  65. Feb 18, 2012
    7
    Look, this movie can get cheesy. It is good though. I don't think it takes itself too seriously, which is helpful when watching it to remember. Is it worth seeing at the Cinema? It wouldn't hurt to. There are much worse movies you could waste your time on. I was glad I took the time to watch this movie. You will be too. Not one for the children though.
  66. Dec 27, 2011
    10
    An absolutely beautiful emotional rollercoaster. I cannot praise this movie enough on grounds of cinematography, music, and a dozen other things. I know I hugged my cat the second I got home.
  67. Feb 22, 2012
    8
    On le disait déjà avec Tintin, mais cela se confirme avec Cheval de Guerre : Steven Spielberg est bel et bien de retour ! Après plusieurs déceptions (Indiana Jones 4) ou films différents à son univers (Arrête-moi si tupeux, Le Terminal), le réalisateur retrouve enfin son cinéma ! Ce qui n'aime pas son travail pesteront sans nul doute sur la naïveté de cette histoire. Mais derrière ce divertissement familial aux airs enfantins se cache un film puissant, critiquant les horreurs de la guerre de manière originale (du point de vue d'un cheval) et offrant quelques séquences émouvantes et également spectaculaires (pour les scènes de batailles, on retrouve le Spielberg d'Il faut sauver le soldat Ryan). Mais avec ce film, il faut surtout saluer la photographie (splendide), la mise en scène (aussi sobre qu'efficace), le dressage des chevaux (les animaux sont des acteurs à part entière) et la musique de John Williams (qui se rattrape largement après Tintin). Bref, un Spielberg grand cru! Expand
  68. Jun 11, 2012
    9
    Great film. The tone exists somewhere between reality and a fariy tale. The phrase 'they don't make them like they used to' does not apply to this film. It's rich in film making tradition and craft. Spielberg is still in a class of his own and has remained admirably true to his values despite more cynical times. This is a film that wears it's heart on it's sleeve and has no pretensions. All the regular Spileberg collaborators have turned in top work: John Williams has written one of his most stirring scores, Janusz Kaminski's cinematography is superb as usual and he has given the film more colour saturation than usual to bring the beautiful locations to life. Production values are all top. The film is very well cast too and all the actors really inhabit their characters even though they are subtly caricatured.

    The second act of the film is my only real criticism. It's slightly malformed and unexpected but this doesn't detract from the film as a whole. There is an obligation to the source material that perhaps holds the film back in places. Overall this is a must see and it's great to see Spielberg make a film that echoes his work from 2 decades ago.
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  69. Feb 11, 2012
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. This is my favorite film of the year. Steven Spielberg has made another classic in his library, though people may just call it a Spielberg film that got nominated for Best Picture and nothing more that that (sorry for insulting you, "Munich" fans). "War Horse" is more than a war film. It tells about a farm boy who raises a horse bought on accident. The two are inseparable, but then the horse is enlisted in the British army. The boy makes a vow to see his horse someday. We then see the marvelous and somewhat frightening journey of the horse through the war. The sound is too loud, which means it must be good. The score by John Williams is another important entry in his filmography. Even the cast is brilliant, mainly Emily Watson and whoever played the boy. The cinematography is spectacular, with the shots carefully and skillfully planned out. Overall, I haven't seen that many war films, but if they're like "War Horse", I'll be renting the entire genre on Netflix in no time. Expand
  70. Sep 9, 2012
    9
    A really cool feel-good film, yes it's a bit corny, yes it's a bit implausable but next we'll be getting drongos down-rating ET because it's an "insult to their intelligence that aliens exist" (jbuddah - it's called a back up plan/trap - your critisisms are easily explained away by those with the intelligence to see a bigger picture). Being from a rural part of England myself the film captures the genuine magic which does exist on those warm country nights when running with the animals. Granted it sugar coats everything and there's not one sign of any horse poo, but it's non the worse for it and the free-flowing adventure is as warming as it is simplistically entertaining. A typical Speilberg Disney-esq fairytale and one I thrived on. And those who think that their kids haven't seen more gore on the net really need a reality check. Expand
  71. Feb 27, 2012
    7
    Definitely after watching this film I've been associating it with SCHINDLER'S LIST, another attempt to "create history" (or same private ryan). This type of films are very Spielberginians. It was very entertaining enough to stay there like 2 hours and a half without looking to the watch. Not for an Oscar but good to be seen at least on DVD.
  72. Mar 13, 2012
    7
    Yes, it's a horse. Thousands of soldiers died in the First World War, but it was OK because a horse lived. That does sound cheesy. Steven Spielberg is sometimes known for his cheesiness, but I think the point about the horse was, wherever it went, it touched the hearts of everyone. It showed strength at the worst of times. The sad scenes made my heart ache, but the happier, more pleasant scenes helped me through, such like the horse. What I didn't like was that the film might have been stretched out too long, making room for a few soppy, or mostly unnecessary scenes and dialogue. Expand
  73. Dec 28, 2011
    8
    Mr Spielberg knows how to make a movie. Familiar story brought to life exquisitely. Well acted, vivid portrayal of war and the stories surrounding it. It is rich, warm, harsh, and emotional. A standard setup, gains momentum and rouses as we near the end. It's not all happy as there is pain and suffering to go around. It's nice to see a positive, up lifting film, that inspires hope with faith.
  74. Dec 28, 2011
    8
    Based on a children's book, War Horse truly feels like a children's story made for adults. The journey of the horse was quite imaginative and the characters he encountered were well created and the actors gave them a feeling of genuineness. The battle scenes were at times even reminiscent of scenes from Spielberg's classic Saving Private Ryan. Nonetheless, while inspirational and touching, War Horse at times becomes far juvenile when one really thinks about the boy's infatuation for the horse, especially in terms of how it continues well into adulthood. Expand
  75. Dec 26, 2011
    6
    Spielberg has always been a master manipulator. He knows just what to do to make a scene feel like it's one for the ages. But in most of his films, he's always had a group of characters we can get behind or a story that is like nothing we've seen before. In other words, he delivers the goods before trying to control our emotions. In "War Horse," I didn't feel like the goods were delivered, leaving me fully aware of Spielberg's attempted manipulation. It was like watching a magician perform a trick I already knew how to do. While the cinematography is beautiful, and the story stays engaging as we follow the horse through multiple battlefields, very few characters have much meat to them, especially Albert who's the boy that raises the horse. All we understand from Albert is that he is a determined boy who loves his horse. That's about it. He's like Captain America where he is the epitome of good. And like Captain America, when you have a consistently "good" character, it becomes quite easy to guess what the character's actions will be. He's a character that's easy to figure out early on, and nothing is done to give him any depth whatsoever. Luckily, there are a few characters along the way that bring the movie back up. My favorite group consisted of a French young teen and her grandfather. The young teen is played by Celine Buckens and she is the standout of the film with only 15 minutes of screen time. She, along with Niels Arestrup who plays the grandfather, are the only actors able to breathe life into their characters. After the horse leaves their company, I have to admit I was pretty disappointed, as the horse never encounters any characters of interest for the remainder of the movie. Also, in terms of the plot twists, I kept getting this feeling that Spielberg was in this world pulling the strings to make everything turn out okay. Whenever tragedy threatened, there was almost always some character acting illogically or an implausible event that brought it back around. Because Spielberg does this early on, I came to realize that everything would work out okay for the main characters, and nothing unexpectedly drastic would happen. This took the fun out of the movie a bit, and it made me just wait patiently for the inevitable ending. Now as I'm looking over what I've written so far, it does seem like I'm trashing "War Horse," which is not what I intended. I enjoyed the movie well enough. "War Horse" definitely is one of the most beautifully filmed movies of Spielberg's career, and while the script doesn't offer much depth, Spielberg moves the film along at a nice enough pace to keep us constantly engaged for over two hours. That's a feat few directors can do, and Spielberg handles it like a champ. Overall, I'd recommend this to people looking for a predictably happy ending, but for the rest of you, I'd wait till it comes out on DVD before checking it out. Expand
  76. Jun 1, 2012
    5
    There's a good movie in there somewhere. Unfortunately it's buried down there pretty deep. War Horse has beautiful cinematography, great sets and costumes, and another wonderful score by John Williams. It even has decent acting. But the movie is drenched in sappy sentimentality and it tries way to hard to manipulate the emotions of the audience into feeling sad, happy, triumphant, or combinations of these. It doesn't earn these emotions, but it desperately tries to implant them in the viewers making it, at times, cringe worthy. Ultimately, this one was a failure. Expand
  77. Jan 10, 2012
    9
    Steven Spielberg is best as always he is.A beautiful emotional journey of friendship i can say...I am sure after watching this movie you will get up from your sit clap your hands for this movie..
  78. Feb 7, 2012
    8
    Personally I enjoyed the movie, but there were a couple of things that irk me. The first 40 minutes of the movie when the boy is connecting with the horse is very cliche. The sunlight is absolutely perfect, they are literally glowing out there, and etc... I didn't mind him training the horse and so forth, but the way it was done was so cliche. At least in Seabiscuit when they connected with the horse, it wasn't always done with the perfect sunlight and countryside. Once the horse get sold off for the war, then the movie really picks up and gets good. I'm not going to spoil the story, but the war and action scenes were well done. The horse's story and characters it deals with were more interesting than the boy was in the beginning. If you can get past the fluff that takes place early in the movie, it really picks up and literally becomes a movie geared towards adults. People die from gun fire, there is mustard gas, no-man's land is dark and gritty, and etc...

    If you think you'll enjoy the war scenes, then it is definitely worth checking out. I hope Steven Spielberg one day makes a true World War 1 centric movie similar to Saving Private Ryan. I like Spielberg's work when it comes to historical fiction, especially with war time stories.
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  79. Dec 28, 2011
    10
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Set against a sweeping canvas of rural England and Europe during the First World War, War Horse begins with the remarkable friendship between a horse named Joey and a young man called Albert, who tames and trains him. When they are forcefully parted, the film follows the extraordinary journey of the horse as he moves through the war, changing and inspiring the lives of all those he meets-British cavalry, German soldiers, and a French farmer and his granddaughter-before the story reaches its emotional climax in the heart of No Man's Land. The First World War is experienced through the journey of this horse-an odyssey of joy and sorrow, passionate friendship and high adventure. Expand
  80. Dec 29, 2011
    10
    Young Albert enlists to service in WWI after his beloved horse, Joey, is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and across Europe as the war rages on.
  81. Dec 28, 2011
    8
    Gritty war movies and sappy horse movies aren't really my taste, but somehow when the two come together the result is greater than the sum of its parts.
  82. Dec 28, 2011
    8
    It was good. There could have been some better acting with the main kid, but otherwise it was top notch. Beautiful cinematography and wonderful musical score.
  83. Dec 28, 2011
    9
    I was surprised at the reviews here at first, but reading them carefully I realize that the lower ratings are from people who do not understand the genre, have not managed their biases, display idiosyncrasies beyond the normal, or fix on a mote while the redwood stands before them. Ignore them.

    The film, taken on its own terms, is nearly perfect. As a child's fable of the costs of war and
    the necessity of the cardinal virtues of faith, hope and charity - wrapped in the iron of courage - to endure them, Spielberg achieves a fit balance between realistic depiction and human heartedness. Technically, the film is superb. While I chafe at his films for their lack of intellect, over-directed manipulation of sentiment (John Williams needs to retire - he and Spielberg together have reached the point where we must have a musical stick rapping us to tell us what every gesture intends), and an inability to understand subtlety, in WAR HORSE everything comes together. His decision to use film stock lends a richness and depth to his painterly compositions. What could seem like over-planning (another tendency) works here because of the fable involved - we expect and need to see the pictures he presents. HIs care in details (horses' heads coming up together at a crucial moment, movement through a field of grain, a scene of a war's suspension beginning with an uncannily true horse calling episode) expressed through exquisite cinematography and editing tell the tale visually. The entire design of the film - from rural domestic and farm settings to village to French farmhouse to bivouacs to trenches to the engines of war - presented a real world that held the fable perfectly.

    Excellent casting and performances throughout by all players, including extreme good fortune in the horses, and a judiciously compressed screenplay allowed the scope of the story to play through while keeping the crucial human scale intact. Characters were instantaneously established without seeming like stock figures. Also, the Spielberg juvenile - that dreaded commodity - did not appear. The young leads and were, in all regards, ennobled and uncloyingly endearing. No villains appeared; all characters were presented as humans caught in something terrible, whether a prewar economic circumstances or war's hangman's clutch. As for realism, again, some reviewers here mistake the genre and sputter over details that are beside the point in this sort of film. One must judge a film on its own terms, or accept being seen as a propagandist, polemicist, or philistine. Or, as can be seen in one review here especially, merely peevish.

    I recommend WAR HORSE to anyone interested in a master filmmaker making the most of his great skills, suppressing his lesser tendencies or turning them to advantage, and presenting a simple fable about simple love enduring despite the forces of hate. The entire film, until its last minute, conveys an authenticity and rightness of tone that will delight most moviegoers and not leave them feeling embarrassed afterwards for being moved. They will have been moved, in this case, as children are, for all the right reasons.
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  84. Dec 31, 2011
    9
    Corny, YES...DUH, Look at the plot details, but moving, amazingly told and unique to any currently out, while the genre is small it is certainly one of the best ww1 films and the best live action animal protagonist film. A movie that is felt and involving throughout and afterwards you wonder how was it all done!
  85. Jan 2, 2012
    10
    SPOILER ALERT!! A SUPERB film! Superb cinematography, Direction and story!! And the horse deserves an Oscar!! This film DOES stir the soul, emotions and has many scenes that definitely tug at your heartstrings, not to mention your nerves. And, then there is Spielberg.... He is pure genius at work again and again..
  86. Jan 3, 2012
    5
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. I can appreciate the careful craftsmanship and I wanted to love this movie. I just didn't succumb and I was more bored than moved. Still, my viewing partner was a puddle by the end. Let's just say it was difficult for me to surrender to Spielberg. Go see it, though, if you feel you'll be swept away. Animals die, but the ending is uplifting. Expand
  87. Jan 8, 2012
    10
    This is a good movie . This one is available at http://tinyurl.com/MovieStreamingOnline
    in English, in HQ quality FREE . Plays like youtube .


    This movie is availabe for free in HD at:

    http://tinyurl.com/MovieStreamingOnline


    recommended.
  88. Jan 6, 2012
    10
    our president recently signed a bill to legalize horse slaughter in this country. the movie industry is making profits from WAR HORSE but are they donating any of the proceeds to help the plight of real horses ? Mr. Spielberg et al , should at the very least , be aware & make others aware of the gruesome reality that horses in this country face. i urge all who read this to educate yourselves of the awful facts on the treatment of horses in this country & to petition the movie industry / government to address this issue. as individuals & as a nation , we need to advocate for these majestic animals. it is utter hypocrisy to glorify horses while condemning them to a bitter future. thank you... Expand
  89. Feb 29, 2012
    7
    Saw Spielberg's latest WWI epic film in the cinema, although I'm not qualified as an animal zealot, I have yet seriously raised any pets (the most intimate contact is two goldfishes once I had at home). But film-wise, it is an overall solid work from Spielberg, far from his best, but still a magnificent viewing occurrence.

    All the elements packing up in the film are slightly deja-vu from
    Spielberg's oeuvre, the different episodes through which our protagonist horse progresses are patchily distributed, particularly the one centers on the French girl and her grandfather (Celine Buckens is annoyingly snobbish in her over-fabricated role, namely the rolling down of a tear through her cheek scene is loathsomely designed, which is also dramatically underscored in the trailer), which backfires with an incongruously dreamed-up sentiment against the gruesomeness of the warfare. The human race cast is generically on their routine route without any over-exposition, which escalates the horse Joey to distinguish itself as the default tearjerker here, and even though everything is fictional, I feel agonizing to witness animals to being coerced to labor heavily just to earn back some human tears, it is not a fair play as we could never procure any consensus from them. I give the film a 7/10 despite all these said disconcerting factors, cinematically speaking, Janusz Kaminskiâ Expand
  90. Jan 15, 2012
    10
    Good movie, not a great one. War scenes are intense and maybe too dramatic but Spielberg does not do things in a small way. The abuse that the horses suffer at the hands of their masters is appalling but that was then... My wife and I were touched by the horse entangled in barbed wire because we had a horse in a similar predicament...That scene was painful to watch.... Good movie about war and hard life and how the world finds the right answer in the midst of chaos and the worst of our kind.... Expand
  91. Jan 25, 2012
    7
    Don't get me wrong...this is a solid film that holds to other films by Spielberg. War Horse also is beautifully shot and well crafted. The issues arise when looking at the acting and part of the writing. Jeremy Irvine (Albert) is not strong enough of an actor to carry the film throughout. While he has some really strong moments, he is still rather fresh and has a lot of room to grow. The supporting cast that surrounds Irvine is what helps keep the film together. The story itself is also something that bothered me a little bit. While I was pulled into the story and invested in Joey (the horse and the center of the story), it seems rather odd how someone Albert's age gets so attached to an animal so quickly. The story from the horse's perspective is done well, but one cannot ignore the fact that the story itself is odd because of it. Regardless of its issues War Horse deserves its spot as one of the best of the year. Expand
  92. Jan 22, 2012
    8
    This movie was solid and nothing more. I could see why many people disliked it, but I enjoyed it. It was a little too sappy for me. It had some intense scenes and the acting was fine, but not Oscar worthy. I will admit, I got a little teary eyed at the end. It was also visually appealing.
  93. Jan 24, 2012
    8
    War Horse is a refreshing, visually spectacular masterpiece from a genius of a director. One can see throughout the consistent efforts to capture emotions from perfect angles, and project them with amazing lights and a deep rousing soundtrack.

    The way it's presented is always mind-blowingly perfect - as one would expect from Spielberg. This, in addition to some amazing sets and terrain
    textures (both natural and artificial) make War Horse a feast for the eyes. In addition one has time to delve into the atmosphere without losing sight of the story. Also the soundtrack is beautiful throughout. The impacts of gun fire and shell explosions have not been muffled or distorted, giving a real sense of sudden quiet and then utter panic.

    Unlike a standard script where there is one plot, War Horse attempts to create many plots and blend them together, while projecting them one at a time. The characters each share a separate connection to the horse, and although this is one of the film's biggest achievements, it also fundamentally creates some of its weaknesses.

    The transitions through each phase of the film, wherever that be at peace or at war, is sometimes lacking in relevance to the original plot presented in the first 25 minutes. This could have been made easier to adapt to if the time was taken to keep reflecting back to the main protagonist and make the story constantly feel relevant, but it doesn't, at least not enough to feel that necessary connection.

    Thankfully, the effects of that deviation are minimized, and very often embraced warmly as the scenery changes with intrigue and engrossment, especially since the new owners of the horse individually make themselves a part of the overall concept, or at least in feel. There are no shallow characters, and quickly one understands each character inside out, allowing only short sections of the story to feel longer and more enjoyable, even though in real time it is merely minutes. This in itself gives the story a huge sense of epic scale involvement from all sides of the war and humanity.

    All this combined with the changing environments give War Horse an image that could never be fully expressed in a single piece of art. You cannot compare this film's script to any generic structure or formula, and for this War Horse is special. Spielberg took a risk separating the protagonist from the plot so early on, and perhaps if he kept him in constant relevance to every character or chapter then the film may have felt easier to watch, especially for replay value. However this aside the gamble did largely pay off, and the result is a multitude of adventures of possibility the now best known horse in fictional cinematic history.
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  94. Feb 6, 2012
    7
    If you want to see a film that is visually stunning and that touches your heart, this movie is for you. The plot-line is not the strongest, drawing on all the typical Spielberg cliches, and even delves into truly ridiculous circumstances which sometimes compromise the accuracy of World War I. The movie starts out slow paced, but then picks up at the end. That being said, the lead actor did a decent job for his first major acting role. Expand
  95. Mar 17, 2012
    9
    Definitely an excellent film. Actually, I think it's a pity that War Horse didn't win even a single Oscar this year. Comparing to Schindler's List, which is too cruel and depressing for me, this movie is warm and beautiful. The music is also enjoyable. A good film for animal lovers. But the script is not as good as I imagined and the end may be a little bit idealistic.
  96. Mar 3, 2012
    8
    As many people have said, the movie starts off very slow but quickly picks. I thought this movie was going to be horrible, however it turned out to be very good. The movie has a very cheesy/cliche ending, but other than that very amazing movie.
  97. Feb 24, 2012
    10
    If u truly love animals, this movie is at least a 9 on a scale of 1-10. If you dont like animals and u want a war movie only, then this probably isnt for you.
  98. Mar 17, 2012
    9
    War Horse isn't for everyone but if you're its audience then you can appreciate this amazing piece of cinema. Spielberg has successfully brought the brilliant novel to life with this risky but still amazing film. Some people might find a lot of it slow, but its stunning war battle scenes will open anyones eyes, and the way the film bonds you with its characters makes the climactic scenes all the more powerful. Spielberg has given us another brilliant film that I would highly recommend. Expand
  99. Mar 24, 2012
    9
    War Horse is a classic Spielberg film with its great landscapes and excellent music. i loved the way the movie showed how the horse transformed each character it met through the war. A truly wonderful film for the whole family.
Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. Reviewed by: Ian Freer
    Jan 9, 2012
    80
    War Horse is bold, exquisite family filmmaking in the grandest Hollywood tradition. Be warned: whether you're a hippophile or not, it's a four-hankie moviegoing experience.
  2. 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.
  3. Reviewed by: David Denby
    Dec 27, 2011
    40
    War Horse is a bland, bizarrely unimaginative piece of work. [2 Jan. 2012, p.79]