By Karen Posada
Bring your tissues to this film! I’m speaking to the animal lovers in particular. This is such a beautiful story about perseverance, love, understanding and adventure. Steven Spielberg has managed once more to make a family film that will capture many. It is so difficult to make a living, breathing animal be the main character of a major motion picture, but it was pulled off majestically.
We are taken on a journey placed during WWI in England mainly but also France. A young boy, Albert Narracott (Jeremy Irvine) has the great challenge of raising a young horse that he names Joey. The two build an unbreakable bond thanks to the obstacles they go through such as plowing a hopeless piece of land. Since Albert’s family is poor they end up giving up the horse when the war hits their small village, Albert swears to Joey that they will meet again. Rose (Emily Watson), Albert’s mom tries to help her son be strong and understand his father’s (Peter Mullan) decision. In his journey through war Joey gets various soldier owners both English and German, who instantly realize this horse is like no other. One of them, Captain Nicholls (Tom Hiddleston) swears to Albert he will return his horse after the war and cares for Joey like Albert would. We follow our main character, Joey, through an unbelievable story during the WWI, which was the last war where horses were used.
The horses used to play the character of Joey are gorgeous beasts that fulfilled Spielberg’s task of having an animal as a main character and will make the public to want to go out and immediately get a horse after the movie. This is Irvine’s first movie on the big screen and he plays his character very humbly with an easy to like attitude, which many pet owners can identify with. War is the backdrop of the story and I really enjoyed the way it was perceived; most movies depict war as something so strategic; here we see how much the element of surprise has to do with it and how little the soldiers involved in it know about it, how clueless they are because of their youth and their fear and all they do is follow orders. One of the most beautiful scenes of the movie is played out in no-man’s-land, where Toby Kebbell’s character is united with the so-called enemy thanks to this amazing horse; this scene alone makes the whole film worth it.
Most of the shots in this film are beautiful, not only because of the countryside shots but even the ones in the war are so well done that they easily captivate the public. Even when corniness seems to overwhelm the screen one is easily distracted by the sunset and the imagery. The film was adapted from a book and there’s also a play in Broadway on it, all the actors recommended the full experience in our interviews and none seemed to have felt overshadowed by the outstanding performance of the horses as it should be since they each contributed to what makes this movie as a whole what it is: a great family film. This movie will make you tear up but it will also make you smile and leave you with a content feeling, it’s no surprise its release date is Christmas day.