Parents' Guide to

Black Beauty (2020)

By Jennifer Green, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Peril, emotional intensity in adaptation of classic tale.

Movie NR 2020 109 minutes
Black Beauty (2020) Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 8+

Based on 5 parent reviews

age 8+

It's a fine movie but the message is muddled

The movie is fine as far as production ect goes. My issue comes in the fact that it kind of loses the whole point of the original book and morphs it into a "girl bonds with wild horse" story. It does depict the expected animal abuse and working life of a carriage horse but the Beauty of this story has no reason to behave for the people that mistreat her as she didn't have the same gentle and kind upbringing of the Beauty in the books. In changing that element it loses the poignant message of the seminal book.
age 10+

Incredibly sad from beginning to end

I watched this with my 8-year old daughter, having never read the book or seen the original movie. I had no idea just how sad a story this is. Beauty gets captured and loses her mother. Jo's parents die in a car crash. And it doesn't get better from there. From one tragedy to another, the entire film. Only watch this if you're prepared to bawl your eyes out, explain animal cruelty to your children, and be depressed the rest of the day.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (5):
Kids say (14):

Every generation seems to get its filmed version of Black Beauty, and as with most beloved classics, this one is likely to elicit mixed reactions. Horse lovers and fans of the story will appreciate the reverent treatment of the majestic mustang. Indicative of this, the poster image comes from a memorable sequence of Jo astride a galloping Beauty, both their long, dark manes flowing in the ocean breeze, a golden light glowing from behind. Perhaps intentionally, the film doesn't feel especially contemporary in look or characterizations, beyond one scene where teenagers use their smart phones to film a peer falling off her horse, though there are feminist messages in female Beauty, and mares uniquely lead mustang herds, we're told.

Those unfamiliar with the tale could find the voiceover narration by the horse a little off-putting at first. "A wise horse once told me," the film begins and ends, and in between, Beauty muses about human laziness, loses her temper with a bratty teen, and misses her family. She seems, well, all too human – and at times, thanks to the great Kate Winslet, even a more authentic character than some of the people in the movie. What this story has in all of its versions is the profound, loving, almost spiritual connection between human and animal. So many people have experienced that bond themselves, which could make it hard for them to escape getting caught up in the emotions of this film.

Movie Details

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