Top positive review
I cried like a baby
on 4 June 2017
I really loved this.
Yes, it's a bit chocolate box, in its depiction of rural England, and the plot itself is a total fantasy. But we have always needed such comforting stories, and Spielberg - at his best - can really do this sort of thing superbly well. The film reeks of classic '70s/'80s Saturday afternoon matinee blockbluster entertainment, steeped in a huge dose of sloppy sentimentalism. It could be nauseating - and some reviewers clearly find it so - but I love it.
I'm a big reader of military history, albeit mostly Napoleonic and WWII, as opposed to WWI. The role of horses in the Napoleonic era, and the immense numbers killed by everything from cannonballs to starvation, or to feed starving humans - the 1812 campaign in Russia, and the loss of horses, signalled the end of an era - have always fascinated me. I love horses, and they've been such a big part of the human story. So to see a film that celebrates our relationship with them is great.
I haven't read Morpugo's book, nor seen any stage versions of this. Having just watched this does make me wish I'd seen it at the cinema when it came out. I resisted it, however, 'cause I think modern mainstream cinema is, by and large, pants. Sure, this is cornball entertainment, on some levels, but it's also a moving story beautifully told. I cried like a baby at numerous points. Perhaps not seeing this in a cinema was sensible after all? So, I found it very cathartic, which is an appealing feature of a well done blockbuster.