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Generally favorable reviews - based on 40 Critics What's this?

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6.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 301 Ratings

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  • Summary: 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 extraordinarySet 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. War Horse is one of the great stories of friendship and war—a successful book, it was turned into a hugely successful international theatrical hit that is arriving on Broadway next year. It now comes to screen in an epic adaptation by one of the great directors in film history. (DreamWorks Pictures)

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Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 40
  2. Negative: 0 out of 40
  1. 100
    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.
  2. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Dec 20, 2011
    100
    War Horse is a don't-miss Spielberg classic that reaches true perfection.
  3. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Dec 21, 2011
    88
    War Horse is bold, not afraid of sentiment and lets out all the stops in magnificently staged action sequences. Its characters are clearly defined and strongly played by charismatic actors. Its message is a universal one.
  4. Reviewed by: Lawrence Toppman
    Dec 19, 2011
    75
    For certain movies, the adjectives "formulaic" and "predictable" are complimentary. War Horse is one of them.
  5. Reviewed by: Mick LaSalle
    Dec 22, 2011
    75
    There are extraordinary and beautiful things in War Horse, enough of them to make the movie a pleasure and a worthwhile experience, though not enough to trick the eye or get you believing this movie hangs together.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

See all 40 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 76 out of 124
  2. Negative: 30 out of 124
  1. 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 andIt 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. Expand
  2. Dec 27, 2011
    10
    An absolutely beautiful emotional rollercoaster. I cannot praise this movie enough on grounds of cinematography, music, and a dozen otherAn 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. Collapse
  3. Nov 28, 2012
    8
    It may be a little overlong, and it may feature one or two stagnant characters, but in the end "War Horse" prevails as a technically beautifulIt may be a little overlong, and it may feature one or two stagnant characters, but in the end "War Horse" prevails as a technically beautiful period piece featuring some noteworthy storytelling. Expand
  4. 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. StevenYes, 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
  5. 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 ofThe 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
  6. 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 firstStarts 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
  7. Jun 28, 2013
    0
    This is a stunningly disaster of a movie. Complete rubbish. I don't recommend this to anybody that has taste in movies. Pointless stupid film.This is a stunningly disaster of a movie. Complete rubbish. I don't recommend this to anybody that has taste in movies. Pointless stupid film. Speilberg needs to get back to what he does best. Expand

See all 124 User Reviews

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