My family and I went to see this movie yesterday. We found it to be a film of incredible beauty and pathos. It shows, in a unique way, the suffering that millions endured during WWI, including, not least, the infantrymen who fought in the trenches of France, like C. S. Lewis.
The story is based upon a children’s book, later turned into a stage-play, written by British author, Michael Morpurgo. According to Wikipedia, “After meeting a World War I veteran who drank in his local pub Iddesleigh and who had been in the Devon Yeomanry working with horses, Morpurgo began to think of telling the story of the universal suffering of the Great War through a horse’s viewpoint, but was unsure that he could do it. He also met another villager, Captain Budgett, who had been in the Cavalry in the Great War, and a third villager who remembered the army coming to the village to buy horses. Morpurgo thanks the three men in the dedication of the book, naming them as Albert Weeks, Wilfred Ellis and Captain Budgett.”
The movie depicts with, I think, incredible accuracy the descent into hell that was The Great War. However, at the same time, the film presents many moments of courage and hope amidst the darkness. Seldom, if ever, have I been moved to tears while watching a motion picture. However, this movie had that affect on me. At the same time, I wanted to stand up and cheer by the end.
The film includes gorgeous cinematography true to the beautiful landscape of Devon as well as other places in England where it was filmed. There is also a moving score provided by John Williams and some splendid acting by some newcomers as well as some well-known craftsmen of the British stage and screen.
The movie may be too slow, at the beginning, for those who prefer more action. However, I deeply appreciated a great filmmaker like Spielberg being willing to tell a story in a manner true to its time-period. I felt like I was there in the England and France of 1914-1918.
All this is said to urge my readers to do one simple thing: see War Horse.