Review: War Horse

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War Horse opened in the United States on Christmas Day in 2011. The war drama was directed by Steven Spielberg.


Albert has a very special horse named Joey that is his best friend. When Joey is sold to the cavalry during World War I—Albert enlists to stay close to him. The two deal with the horrors of war and keep hope that one day they will be reunited.


  • The cinematography by Janusz Kaminski is some of the best work he has ever done with his long time collaborator, Spielberg.


  • John Williams provides an excellent and memorable score.


  • There are many emotionally moving scenes and moments in War Horse. The relationship between Joey and Albert is the heart of the story and its works very well.


  • The relationship between Albert & Joey bookends War Horse. In between the film focuses on a series of vignettes seen through the eyes of Joey. The characters and stories introduced in those vignettes aren’t nearly as interesting or involving as Joey & Albert’s relationship.


  • The film at times becomes too saccharine and calculating. Some scenes and moments feel like they exist only to pull at your heartstrings.


  • The film drags in the middle and becomes a little boring before picking up in the third act. The nearly 2 and a half hour runtime should have been trimmed.

In Closing:

War Horse is easily one of Spielberg’s least memorable films, despite featuring some well executed components. The film is guilty of some of the director’s most divisive impulses—including extremely syrupy moments. War Horse is a well made film, but it’s hard to overlook its manipulation.

Rating: C