Black Beauty (2015)

Movie review by
Danny Brogan, Common Sense Media
Black Beauty (2015) Movie Poster Image
Poor performances undermine positive themes; teen romance.
  • PG
  • 2015
  • 86 minutes

Parents say

age 7+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Educational Value

The movie's intention is to entertain rather than educate.

Positive Messages

Themes of friendship, perseverance, and teamwork are prominent throughout, although they feel cliched. Kindness to animals. Characters -- and animals -- face their fears. A character learns to not be so hard on themselves. More important things than winning.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Audry is hardworking and has a great love for animals. She is thoughtful and puts the welfare of Beauty above everything. She is adamant that anything a boy can do, she can do too. Some characters are stereotypes such as Audry's father, James, who is overprotective and is continually referred to as the one who brings money into the family and the one who sets the rules. Audry's family are religious -- saying grace before meal times and attending the church BBQ.

Violence & Scariness

References to a horse being physically abused. Some scenes in which the horse becomes distressed including one where it kicks a character who is left with a bruise on their leg. A character is bumped into on purpose causing them to fall to the floor. Some arguing among family members. A character playfully punches another. The death of a grandparent is mentioned several times as is a character breaking their leg after falling from a horse.   

Sexy Stuff

Mild flirting. Character discusses their romantic feelings.

Language

"Crap" and "God" are used as exclamations. Character calls another a "clumsy cow" and "loser."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this 2015 TV movie version of Black Beauty shares little with Anna Sewell's 1877 children's classic, other than its name. There are a number of positive messages such as friendship, perseverance, and teamwork, as well as the need to show kindness to animals. However, these messages feel signposted. There is also some stereotyping, most notably James (Luke Perry), the overprotective father who makes reference to himself as the one who brings money into the home and as such his daughter, Audry (Jennifer Mckenzie) must live by "his rules." Though viewers don't see it, the physical abuse of a horse is discussed in some detail. Subsequently the horse is quick to distress and in one scene kicks out causing a bruise on a character's leg. Two teens flirt with one another although it's all fairly innocent. "Crap" and "God" are used occasionally as exclamations and one obnoxious character calls someone a "clumsy cow" and "loser."

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byDPJM June 5, 2020

THE REVIEWS ARE TRUE... IT WAS AWFUL!!

In my opinion, quite literally the worst film I have ever watched. I read the reviews but didn't quite believe anything could be that bad. My daughter is... Continue reading
Adult Written byMcmikn October 2, 2020

Oh my goodness NO!

WOW! I wish I'd read the bad review before suffering 1.5 hours through this terrible film. The acting was atrocious. Hesitating, wooden and words not reall... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In BLACK BEAUTY, Audry (Jennifer Mckenzie), a city girl who feels closer to animals than her classmates, befriends a rescue horse from the animal pound she volunteers in. When Audry learns that the horse will be put down as a result of its injuries, she convinces her grandfather (Bruce Davison) -- who lives in the country -- to adopt the horse. Audry spends the summer at her grandfather's nursing the horse back to health, forming friendships she never thought possible.

Is it any good?

Though the movie's heart is in the right place, wooden acting, poor editing, and a weak script, make this 2015 TV movie a poor addition to the Black Beauty series. Characters are cliched -- from Luke Perry's overprotective father to the spoiled rich Blythe -- and relationships feel fake and unnatural. Audry's intermittent voiceover is unnecessary and subsequently annoying, spelling out the narrative that's playing out before our eyes. The same can be said for some of the dialogue with lines such as "It's not about the winning" and "I can do anything a boy can do" hammering home messages that have already been made clear.

Underneath these shortcomings lie a number of positive messages; friendship, teamwork, and determination. It's just a shame they are so overstated. Viewers who tune in to see galloping horses will also be disappointed, with Beauty being limited to close-ups with none of the birds-eye sweeping shots that have become accustomed with other Black Beauty movies. A disappointing addition to the series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the relationship between Audry and Beauty in Black Beauty. What do they learn from each other? What else can we learn from animals?

  • Audry and her friends show both perseverance and teamwork when helping nurse Beauty back to health. Why are there important character strengths?

  • Discuss Audry's father. Did you like him? Does he feel like a stereotype? Why are gender stereotypes problematic?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love horses

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate