(2011)

Critic Reviews

72

Metascore

Based on 40 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
100
In his most painterly film, Spielberg has appropriated the lavish visual palette of John Ford movies: "The Quiet Man" for the rural settings, "The Horse Soldiers" for the war scenes. Boldly emotional, nakedly heartfelt, War Horse will leave only the stoniest hearts untouched.
100
War Horse is a don't-miss Spielberg classic that reaches true perfection.
91
This is a beautifully built, classically framed movie, shot with the unshowy natural expressiveness of a John Ford Western by Spielberg's great cinematographer, Janusz Kaminski.
80
What's missing, then? There's no fiery central performance in the mix (the horse doesn't count), and once Emily Watson's hardscrabble mom is rotated out of the action, you yearn for an anchor.
75
Charlotte Observer
For certain movies, the adjectives "formulaic" and "predictable" are complimentary. War Horse is one of them.
70
The Hollywood Reporter
Whatever its missteps, this is a film that kids, middle-aged adults and grandparents can all see -- together or separately -- and get something out of in their own ways. There are precious few films that fit this description today and hats off to Spielberg for making one.
60
Variety
This beautifully composed picture brings a robust physicality to tried-and-true source material, but falls short of the sustained narrative involvement and emotional drive its resolutely old-fashioned storytelling demands.
50
Slant Magazine
What ultimately hobbles War Horse is a two-pronged attack, with Spielberg's soft-sell producing an unfortunately dramatic flatness in almost every scene, while an 11th-hour scramble for picture-book catharsis doesn't seem to work either.
40
Boxoffice Magazine
Director Steven Spielberg doesn't have a steady grip on War Horse's careening tone, but he'll be damned if there's not 15 minutes in there for everyone.
40
Village Voice
Since he's (Spielberg) a director largely incapable of understatement, War Horse is served up with a self-aggrandizing, distracting surplus of Norman Rockwell backlighting, aerial landscape shots designed to out-swoop David Lean's, and an aggravated sense of doggone wonderment amplified by the director's dependence on John Williams's bombastic score.

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