“…a horse’s life is maybe even more important than a man’s, ’cause a horse hasn’t got no evil in him except any that’s put there by men…”
– War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
After seeing War Horse in a pre-screening and blogging about it, I’ve been thrilled to watch the responses of others who have gone to see “War Horse” or who have read the book, which is sitting high on the Kindle Bestseller list (even though the book was published back in the 80s.)
What is it about this story that is so gripping?
What is it that has touched so many people?
What is it that keeps people from even going to see it?
The animals. Seeing the war through the eyes of a horse, taken from his serene country home to enter the torrent of slaughter and death in the Great War battlefields.
I have friends who can watch violent movies without flinching. Human-on-human violence is almost overdone that we’re immune to it (cue the Hunger Games reference). But at the thought of going to see “War Horse,” they balk and say, “I couldn’t handle watching that…”
Think Old Yeller. Where the Red Fern Grows. Bambi. These movies all deeply touch their viewers. And for most people, watching them once is more than enough.
As a long-time animal lover, horse owner and advocate, these movies and books all deeply touch me as well. What touches me more is the bringing to light of issues that the public largely ignores. Animal abuse and abandonment, shown even through snips and scenes of this powerful movie, are even more real today than they were in 1914.
War Horse has earned some award nominations and mixed reviews but still ranked well among box offices. But if telling these stories by focusing on these animals is “too hard” for some viewers, does it accomplish it’s goal?
Have you seen War Horse yet? Weigh in with your thoughts in the comments, please!