Parents' Guide to

War Horse

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Spielberg's sweeping horse drama is beautiful but intense.

Movie PG-13 2011 142 minutes
War Horse Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

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

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 32 parent reviews

age 10+


age 11+

Keep that Kleenex box close...

Sentimental, film if your family is over 11 years old. The majority of the film still takes place in the middle of World War I. It possesses the Spielberg sentimentality, along with a well written script and well acted from a series of top quality performers. Hiddleston, though brief, is quite memorable. Totally reading the children's book it's based on.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (32):
Kids say (63):

This film combines two of Spielberg's favorite themes as a director -- family and war. The stand-out performances deserve credit for making the movie's 146 minutes worth your while. The cast is a virtual who's-who of rising English talent -- up-and-comer Irvine (making his feature debut), the always terrific Benedict Cumberbatch, and Thor breakout star Hiddleston as the earnest captain who buys Joey -- along with veteran supporting actors led by Emily Watson, who shines as Albert's wise, hardworking mother, who always knows what to say.

Yes, War Horse is long (nearly two and a half hours) and sentimental, but that's fine. The story demands emotional depth, especially in the second and third acts, when it's Joey the audience is following, not Albert. Between the gorgeous cinematography (all those lush landscapes and claustrophobic trenches) and the expert editing, the film doesn't drag. As epic dramas go, this one is more heart than heft, but it's a beautiful portrayal of the extraordinary friendship -- and circumstances -- surrounding a boy and his horse.

Movie Details

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