Poetic, thrilling, heartwrenching, Spielberg has made his finest film in a decade; and maybe the best film of 2011.
Julian Roman - MovieWeb
The project is tailor-made for Saving Private Ryan Spielberg, the war-story specialist, as well as for E.T. Spielberg, the chronicler of boyhood desires and yearnings for family.
Lisa Schwarzbaum - Entertainment Weekly
You may find yourself resisting this sentimental pageant of early-20th-century rural English life, replete with verdant fields, muddy tweeds and damp turnips, but my strong advice is to surrender.
A.O. Scott - New York Times
Sweeping in its style and old-fashioned in its narrative structure, War Horse will likely take its place alongside beloved family films.
Claudia Puig - USA Today
A work of full-throated Hollywood classicism that looks back to the craftsmanship and sentimentality of John Ford and other legends of the studio era.
Ty Burr - Boston Globe
Dialogue is superfluous; in its way, War Horse is as much a "silent movie" as The Artist. Every triumph is pounded into your head and punctuated by a dolly-in close-up.
J. Hoberman - Village Voice
The vision we connect with isn't that of a horse or his owner, but a storyteller so fascinated by the best and worst of humanity, he continues to search for a way to reconcile them.
Elizabeth Weitzman - New York Daily News
A film that may stay in the mind's eye longer than it lingers in the heart.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
The scope and craft are dazzling.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
Tonally jarring and structurally disjointed, it's a punishingly long and bumpy ride.
Kathleen Murphy - MSN Movies
We never ask why the production is devoted to an animal while ten million men are dying, but when Spielberg does the story realistically, it seems trivial, even a little daft.
David Denby - New Yorker
The film is made with superb artistry. Spielberg is the master of an awesome canvas.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
When the army buys the horse and takes it to the French front, Spielberg goes into Lean mode, finding in war the greatest landscapes and crowd shots that money can buy.
Ben Sachs - Chicago Reader
War Horse is sugary, to be sure - but it is sugar cut with cannon fire and barbed wire and the horrors of war.
Steven Rea - Philadelphia Inquirer
The result isn't groundbreaking, but it's gratifying.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Spielberg all but begs you to cry, and unless you're a heartless cad, you probably will.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
War Horse is a don't-miss Spielberg classic that reaches true perfection.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
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.
Justin Chang - Variety
Those who say they don't make 'em like they used to must now fall silent.
Kyle Smith - New York Post
If anyone thought Steven Spielberg couldn't top himself for manipulating audience emotions, they didn't reckon with War Horse.
Peter Howell - Toronto Star
It's simply crafted, at times bordering on simplistic, and it doesn't just wear its heart on its sleeve - it wears its heart on its heart.
William Goss - Film.com
The trouble here is not so much that Spielberg's film staunchly insists on finding a happy ending even in the calamity of the First World War, but that he slathers it on so thick and leaves so soft an impression.
Liam Lacey - Globe and Mail
It's almost a great war movie in one direction, and almost a piece of irredeemable cheese in the other, and there you have it.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
Tthe images have what I can only describe as a wonderful texture. They also have intense color: deep gemlike greens and reds, with black shadows out of an old master painting.
Dana Stevens - Slate
Call it "lesser Spielberg" and put it alongside Always and Hook.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
An atmospheric, tear-jerking, highly cinematic melodrama.
Todd McCarthy - Hollywood Reporter
It's overlong, painfully earnest and sometimes even hokey.
Christy Lemire - Associated Press
Boldly emotional, nakedly heartfelt, War Horse will leave only the stoniest hearts untouched.
Richard Corliss - TIME Magazine
War Horse gets to you. It's one from the heart.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
What a gorgeous, breathtaking, epic adventure this is.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
The incredible emotive power of this horse and the way in which the filmmakers were able to translate it on-screen are what stay with you.
Betsy Sharkey - Los Angeles Times
Etched in the simple, bold strokes of a passed-down fable. Resistance is futile.
Sean Burns - Philadelphia Weekly
Steven Spielberg's "War Horse" is an imperfect film, but certainly is a beautiful one.
Justin Craig - FoxNews.com
They will keep trying and trying until only the blackest of hearts are left un-moved. I guess I should hand in my organ donation card because I clearly don't have a heart judging from the dismissive reaction I had to this patently artificial film.
Glenn Dunks - Trespass
For sublime equine you'd be hard pressed to find a better mount than 'War Horse.'
Al Alexander - The Patriot Ledger
War Horse offers a number of memorable moments both tragic and profound.
Ben Kendrick - ScreenRant
Leave it to the great Steven Spielberg to be able to inject a great deal of heart into a story about a boy and his horse.
Jeff Beck - Examiner.com
It's too bad that Steven Spielberg's latest film War Horse doesn't quite live up to the example set by its majestic titular character.
Kristal Cooper - We Got This Covered
Its epic length is the one thing you're guaranteed to take from the experience.
Erick Weber - NECN
A two-and-a-half hour sightseeing tour through David O. Selznick's junk drawer.
William Bibbiani - CraveOnline
While made with great technical proficiency, War Horse is determinedly old-fashioned in how Spielberg tells the story, which is a fitting creative strategy considering that the film studies the convergence of the old and the modern.
Mark Pfeiffer - Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema
God bless Steven Spielberg, who knows how to push my buttons.
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
War Horse is a fine film, helmed by a fine filmmaker all too aware of how to pull the audience's strings.
Blake Howard - 2UE That Movie Show
- Urban Cinefile
"How Green Was My Valley, How Smart Was My Horse." [Blu-ray]
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
What is a simple, World War I-era tale of a boy and his horse on the page and stage becomes bloated in Spielberg & Co.'s hands. Benefits from stunning cinematography and an excellent supporting cast.
Fr. Chris Carpenter - Movie Dearest
It is a vividly detailed depiction of a time, a place and a conflict.
In tone and in the way that the narrative unfolds, it's a throwback to a more romantic era of filmmaking-when making feel-good movies wasn't anything to apologize for.
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
If it doesn't quite manage to tap the well of emotion that this type of film aims to access, it's because of problems inherent to the basic pitch, rather than the execution.
Catherine Bray - Film4
After the recent disappointment of a few donkey movies, director Steven Spielberg gallops back onto the big screen with a cinematic stallion in War Horse.
Brian Henry Martin - UTV
[Not] entirely satisfying … Somehow, though, the sum of the parts are more than the whole … It is a film of a kind we don't see any more, that it would be good to see more of.
Steven D. Greydanus - Decent Films Guide
full review at Movies for the Masses
Joseph Proimakis - Movies for the Masses
In spite of a few moving scenes, it's labored, too long and too gorgeously shot.
Rich Heldenfels - Akron Beacon Journal
War Horse is a long, boring and vaguely insulting mess that offers up the depressing sight of an infinitely talented filmmaker simply going through the motions.
Peter Sobczynski - eFilmCritic.com
A little bit of sentiment is one thing, Steven. But this is simply labourious.
Tom Clift - Moviedex
Unfortunately it has the director's usual heavy-handed and overstated ploys.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
... the movie is easy to admire. Adoration, however, never comes. For that, something's missing.
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
...a sporadically electrifying yet terminally uneven (and overlong) piece of work.
David Nusair - Reel Film Reviews
A grand spectacle of a movie, War Horse' is an epic about loyalty, friendship and the horrors of war. Based on a marvelous book, Spielberg delivers a sweeping adventure that will become an instant classic among those who love old-fashioned storytelling.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
If it lags in the middle, it can be forgiven, because it has a warm heart despite its inconsistencies
Martin Roberts - Fan The Fire
Children and the elderly will love it.
Chris Laverty - Clothes on Film
Audiences will either be overwhelmed by the impact or find themselves fighting to resist it.
Philip French - Observer [UK]
The movie's pastoral values bypass the head to massage the heart. The cracker-barrel philosophy, the piety, the unreconstructed belief in heroism and gallantry, it's all so reassuring; it's like the second half of the 20th century never happened.
Ed Whitfield - The Ooh Tray
A couple battle sequences are filmed with great care, but War Horse is still essentially a trite, manipulative soap opera run through the lens of World War I to give it a lot of historic and artistic sensibility.
Eric Melin - Scene-Stealers.com
Despite a thoroughbred cast, War Horse falls short because it tries too hard to tug our heartstrings.
Jason Best - Movie Talk
War Horse is not so much a story of universal suffering told through the eyes of a horse but a Boys' Own ripping yarn. It is a good yarn well paced and well made.
Donald Munro - Eye for Film
Steven Spielberg directs this handsome Oscar-tipped film version of the heart-rending tale from a script by Richard Curtis and Lee Hall.
- Liverpool Echo
War Horse is perfect material for the world's foremost purveyor of cinematic sentimentality. Think ET with hooves.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
War Horse is a pre-packaged brand, rather than a movie.
We are marched through cloying kidult rhetoric for 150 minutes, ending with the inevitable pull on our hankie pocket, as wheedling as a beggar pulling on our change pocket. The only difference: the beggar is more deserving.
Nigel Andrews - Financial Times
This is a soaring, sprawling epic that harks back to the dream-big visionaries of old Hollywood: John Ford, David Lean, David O. Selznick.
Robbie Collin - Daily Telegraph
A uniquely moving odyssey that subtly outlines both the suffering of the First World War and the humanity amid so much loss of life.
Alan Jones - Radio Times
Heavy-handed melodrama with flashes of brilliance.
James Bramble - Little White Lies
After the ho-hum that was Tintin, this serves as a reminder of why Spielberg is considered one of the great visionary storytellers.
Alex Zane - Sun Online
If you are looking to engage older primary school children with a First World War story, don't miss Steven Spielberg's adaptation of War Horse.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
Even with a running time of almost two and a half hours, War Horse is captivating and frequently affecting.
Philip Concannon - The Skinny
A solid affair which thankfully avoids any Disney-style anthropomorphism and - bearing in mind its mainly teen audience - avoids graphic bloodletting.
Tim Evans - Sky Movies
An engaging and frequently moving drama with strong performances and a handful of genuinely stunning sequences, not to mention some world class horse-wrangling.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
Spielberg still manages to surprise and impress.
Dave Calhoun - Time Out
Spielberg has a gift of simplifying historical events for family viewing, mitigating the grim facts but still delivering a sizable punch to the senses.
Lisa Giles-Keddie - Real.com
Spielberg has fashioned a timeless classic out of a horse's journey that powerfully and memorably becomes our journey as well.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
The magic talismans lose their potency. Too much is never enough.
Kelly Vance - East Bay Express
War Horse is bold, exquisite family filmmaking in the grandest Hollywood tradition.
Ian Freer - Empire Magazine
War Horse -- novel and play -- is now a Spielberg symphony. War Horse is part reality and part fantasy, and Spielberg has to do a risky balancing act. It is a gallant film.
Tony Macklin - tonymacklin.net
Traz Spielberg em um de seus momentos mais melodramaticos - e seu desespero para levar o publico as lagrimas e tamanho que chega a espantar que nao tenha lancado uma versao em "4D" durante a qual uma bomba de gas lacrimogenio e arremessada na plateia.
Pablo Villaca - Cinema em Cena
War Horse is the kind of evergreen holiday movie that will play annually on TV like Judy Garland in Easter Parade - except with dead horses and poison gas.
Mark Ramsey - MovieJuice!
Although the story doesn't hang together well in some places, it has plenty of emotional power. You may need a hanky for some of the more emotional scenes.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
Spielberg has been accused of being Capraesque in his heart-tugging films. For War Horse, he goes all John Ford. Unfortunately, it's not a terribly compelling film.
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
The material sometimes feels oversugared, though it's also guaranteed to raise a lump in your throat.
Rafer Guzman - Newsday
Could have been better
Diana Saenger - ReviewExpress.com
Wholesome with a capital W, it's the sort of film you can take your mother, aunt, grandmother - hell, even your great-grandmother - to, without fear of offending delicate ears.
James Mottram - Total Film
Spielberg works his magic and brings another heartwarming drama to the screen
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
What could have been a horribly sentimental hack job is handled with grace and love by Spielberg.
Jeanne Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
This is the type of film that Academy voters have cherished in the past. Here's hoping that the majority are not so jaded by sentiment to deny this wonderful movie its just recognition.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
A solid film with a masterful score and beautiful cinematography. While the film never reaches that level of Spielberg greatness, it contains my favorite scene of 2011.
Kevin McCarthy - NerdTears.com
Even though it's long and the premise is fantasy, it is extremely well made, the acting is superb, as are the war scenes.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
War Horse is like a cross between The Black Stallion, Saving Private Ryan, and Slacker. If my description sounds unappealing, please know that I compare it to those other pictures very favorably.
Mike McGranaghan - Aisle Seat
Darn you, Steven Spielberg! You made me cry again. 'War Horse' is a wonderful film, but I wish you had toned it down a bit. I'm still teary eyed just thinking about Joey.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
For all of its soft-peddled nostalgia "War Horse" methodically hits every mark of emotional degree with surgical precision.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Accomplished as it looks on the big screen, War Horse is shamelessly manipulative and might be Spielberg's laziest movie since The Lost World.
Pete Vonder Haar - Houston Press
Steven Spielberg adds another film worthy of classic status to his credits.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
Spielberg's sweeping horse drama is beautiful but intense.
Sandie Angulo Chen - Common Sense Media
The treacle is unyielding, and that's basically a kiss of death for a picture that's working off a script with such potential for hokey melodrama.
Gabe Leibowitz - Film and Felt
The movie feels alternately realistic and enclosed, failing to find a balance between the two.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
Amid the incomprehensible slaughter, it's a horse that reminds these warriors of their humanity.
Like a well-trained thoroughbred, it comes home strong and you'd have to possess a heart of stone to not be moved by some of the moments in the last act.
Matt Neal - The Standard
demonstrates Spielberg's mastery of the fine art of infusing the bleakest of material with a sense of optimism that swells in your heart without blotting out the tragedies and losses that came before
James Kendrick - Q Network Film Desk
It is a work by a master, but it is not a masterpiece.
Nell Minow - Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Some great moments but most of them, as well as the film's other major themes and elements - have been done previously, and better, by Spielberg
Stephen Silver - Patch
A tearjerker finale suggests that Joey has the power of restoring sight to the blind. Oh, the noble creatures that make us see ourselves as we really are!
Burl Burlingame - Honolulu Star-Advertiser
War Horse is a fine example of a director, his conductor, his cinematographer and his actors working in handsome, elegant synchronization to play us all like dime-store harmonicas.
John Thomason - Orlando Weekly
Spielberg touch brings War Horse home.
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
We get both Spielbergs for the price of one here-the sentimental filmmaker of his earlier days (think "E.T.") and the more intense auteur of his later years (think "Saving Private Ryan" only with a lot less blood).
Greg Maki - Star-Democrat (Easton, MD)
Many who dismiss this film have forgotten: [Its source is] a children's story. ... Would you tell a child that The Black Stallion is an artificial, sentimental fantasy?
Jeffrey Overstreet - Looking Closer
It's not gory, but it's reassuring to know that no animals were actually in any way harmed in the moviemaking process. Keep reminding yourself of that.
Neil Pond - American Profile
he periodic attempts to anthropomorphize Joey by having him "volunteer" for a difficult task so a fellow horse (his girlfriend, I think) won't have to do it are just silly.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
There isn't a moment in the movie where you don't feel Spielberg's passion, and this time, the film is worthy of his enthusiasm. It's a knockout.
Rene Rodriguez - Miami Herald
While it's a perfectly serviceable piece of craftsmanship of the most proudly old-fashioned sort, it's impersonal and programmatic and lacks any trace of urgency.
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
Old fashioned in the best sense of the word. A triumph and a stirring story not to be missed.
Pete Hammond - Back Stage
The limitations within the screenplay are largely offset by Janusz Kaminski's beautiful cinematography, Michael Kahn's nicely-paced editing and John Williams's sweet film score.
Matthew Toomey - ABC Radio Brisbane
War Horse is the law of diminishing returns in action.
Matt Singer - IFC.com
It has Spielberg's signature moves; what it doesn't have is the sense of passion that says, "This is more than a product. I really believe in this."
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
The story is reminiscent of 'Courage of Lassie' (1946) since it involves a beloved pet, of sorts, that is thrust into a world war, and whose survival, let alone return to its home base, is fraught with impossibility upon impossibility.
Steve Crum - Video-Reviewmaster.com
Visually intelligent and technically flawless, and the rural landscapes, big skies and bloody battlefields are effectively realized.
Duane Dudek - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
One cannot help but to root for this horse like you would root for any of the great heroes of the movies. He embodies the traits of persistence, courage, and survival.
David Poland - Movie City News
The equine SCHINDLER'S LIST. Bloated and mawkish, overdone with underwritten characters. This critic gives it a thundering hooves' down.
Kimberly Gadette - Doddle
War Horse has the distinction of being the biggest movie disappointment of 2011.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
The movie's emotional weight and sweeping scope trump any and all shortcomings.
Mathew DeKinder - Suburban Journals of St. Louis
If there was a way to nominate a horse for best Actor, Joey "The Forrest Gump" of horses would get it. The most touching horse bromance I've seen all year.
Michelle Alexandria - Eclipse Magazine
Has there been another director in the history of film who could manipulate the heartstrings as well as Steven Spielberg?
Michael A. Smith - MediaMikes
Because the material itself is absorbing, and inherently emotional, and because it's a handsome production, War Horse is a very watchable.
Leonard Maltin - Leonard Maltin's Picks
Don't be fooled into thinking the PG-13 War Horse takes a softer approach to the subject at hand -- with one specific scene, Spielberg establishes that his World War I epic, like some of the platoons marching through it, won't take any prisoners.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Scoff if you must at the notion that an equine can symbolize an angel of our better natures... War Horse is all the better for that dedication to the ideal.
Mark Dujsik - Mark Reviews Movies
A completely engaging throwback to the grand epics of yesteryear and the various cinematic tricks and tactics used back then to pull them off in glorious style. (Content Review for Parents also available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
It remains a noble attempt -- if not exactly an unqualified triumph -- to deliver the kind of good old-fashioned movie designed to bring kids, parents and grandparents together for a good old-fashioned, larger-than-life time at the movies.
Carol Cling - Las Vegas Review-Journal
A magnificent epic that captures the essence and magic of classic movie-making. The heartfelt and emotional War Horse is one of Steven Spielberg's best movies and certainly one of the best films of the year.
Diva Velez - TheDivaReview.com
Spielberg registers the futility of cavalry charges and the emotional bonds humans and animals can have. Placing these moments into one package takes some getting used to.
Dan Lybarger - KC Active
While it seems like grand slam material for the bearded maestro, the story rarely gets off the ground, lost between its dreamy storybook qualities and need to reinforce the bone-chilling tragedy of war.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
Aching to be magical, the picture instead comes off as a 'Wonderful World of Disney' retread on steroids...what might have been heart-on-sleeve becomes bleeding heart instead.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
It's the largest, most lavish handful of wistfulness money can buy, and sometimes it's too much. Yet it's nice to know that even Steven Spielberg can still wish for something.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
Though you may try your best not to get sucked into this man-animal love story, resistance is probably futile.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
Spielberg's heart has always been his best attribute as a filmmaker, seldom expressed more eloquently than through a mute animal in this machine of a movie.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
It could have been told in the '30s or '40s, it's so earnest and square. I mean that in a good way.
Matt Soergel - Florida Times-Union
War Horse may be nothing new for the man who made his name as the King of the Blockbuster, but it does represent what he does best.
Bill Gibron - PopMatters
A beautifully shot film steeped in emotion.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Do you like E.T.? Gone With the Wind? The Black Stallion? The Color Purple? Saving Private Ryan? Lassie? Sure you do. You like the greatest hits. And Steven Spielberg knows it.
Dave White - Movies.com
Steven Spielberg directed this adaptation probably because it's a perfect holiday storm of subjects: kids, war, and animals. I hope that someone at Kleenex saw this as an opportunity to cross-promote.
Grae Drake - Movies.com
The emotion that was found in the play is gone, the heart is missing and what's left is just technical beauty.
Neil Rosen - NY1-TV
Spielberg's phenomenal skill for making images remains undiminished. The rows in a piece of knitting dissolve into the furrows in a stony field; men's bodies fly through the air like broken dolls. Some images are too fussed over, but every one is striking
Stephen Whitty - Newark Star-Ledger
Spielberg gives great spectacle, but the sentimental notes may be sounded too loudly
Robert Denerstein - Movie Habit
A stodgy, ridiculous movie with a horse that simultaneously serves as an allegory for the bond that unites all mankind and as a symbol of profound, idealized purity.
Robert Levin - Film School Rejects
There are sequences of such breathtaking skill and confidence that I believe the film must be seen by everyone who ever hopes to make, or even talk intelligently, about movies.
War Horse is not a movie that tries to cover its tracks, but when it works, you're more than willing to be led by the hand.
Sam Adams - Philadelphia City Paper
It's not that a film can't be lighthearted family fare, a gritty war epic and a weepie all at once; the problem is that here, those elements feel strictly compartmentalized -- and calculated.
Ian Buckwalter - NPR
The result is an epic piece of Spielbergian entertainment that will be enjoyed by most, save those who don't wish to be seen with their eyes moistening up in public.
Jim Slotek - Jam! Movies
A grand epic in the tradition of John Ford and Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.
Ethan Alter - Television Without Pity
Expect War Horse, one of the year's best, to earn some accolades at the Academy Awards in February. Oscar always pays attention when Spielberg is in the saddle.
Tyler Hanley - Palo Alto Weekly
Who among us cannot be moved by a brave horse in harm's way?
Robert Trussell - Kansas City Star
A spellbinding drama about a heroic horse, the young man who loves him, and the kind handlers who help the horse during the hell he endures on the battlefields of World War I.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
Spielberg by now can do this sort of thing with such facility that he often lets his technical skills override his deepest engagement in the material.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
"War Horse" is sentimental, unflinching in its presentation of the brutality of war and heartfelt in its displays of bravery and loyalty.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
Sentimental and old-fashioned, yes, but also vitally contemporary and terribly upsetting.
Josh Larsen - LarsenOnFilm
While the human actors in War Horse are genuinely impressive, it's the equine that truly carries the weight of the story, and Spielberg does a phenomenal job at making Joey a believable character that convincingly grows and evolves.
Jason Buchanan - TV Guide's Movie Guide
You expect War Horse to close by telling us, 'Joey was a hero to the English and the Germans alike, and he went on to kill three Nazi generals.'
Matt Pais - RedEye
a time capsule back to the days of John Ford and David O. Selznick
Jason McKiernan - Filmcritic.com
Spielberg exercises stunning control behind the camera, never more than in a late-film sequence that all but erases the distance between the viewers' perspective and Joey's.
Keith Phipps - AV Club
With the exception of a few lovely scenes, it's a hollow and bombastic piece of work, clobbering you over the head with its epic-ness when it's not cinematically yanking at your nosehairs in the hopes that you'll cry.
They should call it Bore Horse.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
War Horse is so schmaltzy that if movies were food you'd be required to go on anti-cholesterol meds before being allowing to see it.
Daniel M. Kimmel - New England Movies Weekly
If ever there was an Oscar awarded for best animal performance, all eleven of the horses used for the part would collectively be shoo-ins.
Yes, this is a Steven Spielberg picture. He directed it and, like Blondie in the old song, he's gonna getcha, getcha, getcha, one way or another.
Mick LaSalle - San Francisco Chronicle
Feels like a good stage play that never quite makes a full transition into the world of movies.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com
During the climactic reunion, Joey doesn't share the frame with the family. He's like John Wayne in that doorway at the end of Ford's 'The Searchers,' a veteran of experiences no one else can understand: forever apart and alone
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
"War Horse" is meticulously and elegantly constructed, and has a gentle, old-fashioned quality that will appeal to many audience members, but it never jolts or thrills; its characters, moving in that Hollywood glow, never quite catch fire.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
It knowingly and ably uses antique grammar to tell an old-fashioned story in an attempt to move its audience in the way film is widely said to be able to do but rarely does.
Shawn Levy - Oregonian
...a family film about courage and the bond between man and beast and, for its aims, it works.
Laura Clifford - Reeling Reviews
Sentimental? Sure. But I'd argue sentiment is earned at a time when, for at least a moment, it seemed like the troubles of the world were in the past.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
A horse is a horse (of course, of course), and it might be said that the folly of War Horse is its expectation of emotional resonance to derive from a fairly expressionless equine visage.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
A meditation on the 20th century transformation from pastoral to industrial, in the horrific context of World War One.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
If it were genuinely the 1940s-era relic it often mimics, it would be justly forgotten.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
If it weren't for the expertly composed skirmishes and the numerous fine performances, War Horse would deserve a trip to the nearest abattoir.
Simon Miraudo - Quickflix
Steven Spielberg is still undoubtedly the king of populist cinema.
Simon Reynolds - Digital Spy
Steven Spielberg's epic drama is technically superb and clearly heartfelt. It is also, I'm sad to say, an odd mix that sometimes soars, sometimes, doesn't.
Joanna Langfield - The Movie Minute
Impeccably crafted, epic tale of a boy and his horse, and the terrible war that separates them. Animal lovers and younger viewers should be entranced.
Kevin Lally - Film Journal International
Spielberg's latest is an overly sweet spectacle but a wildly exhilarating one; near-flawless on a technical level if too eager to make your heart soar.
Shaun Munro - What Culture
War Horse is the right kind of material that fits the talents of Steven Spielberg and his regular cohorts. The end result is a deeply satisfying, moving movie that features a master filmmaker at his best in years
Matthew Pejkovic - Matt's Movie Reviews
War Horse isn't in the top tier of the grandmaster's filmography, but as a work of pure sentimentality and spectacle, the film delivers rousing entertainment.
Matt Patches - Hollywood.com
This is a movie so boldly old-fashioned that much of its true target demographic must be long dead.
Kurt Loder - Reason Online
Spielberg still knows how to make a crowd-pleasing blockbuster, but this sweeping, comfortably old-fashioned WWI cliche has the soul of a hollow chocolate Santa.
Caryn James - James on screenS
If you want some of that old Spielberg magic, go see Tintin instead.
Radheyan Simonpillai - AskMen.com
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.
Jaime N. Christley - Slant Magazine
The year's most potent work -- largely word-free but aching with feeling -- comes from Hollywood's longtime resident genius, Steven Spielberg.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out
War Horse is corny, sentimental, overlong, but also spectacular at times, even stirring.
Gerald Peary - Boston Phoenix
War Horse is manipulative, sentimental and schmaltzy, but dammed effective. And to the eternal discomfort of some detractors, it's a spiritual movie, in which the holy and beautiful creation of nature overcomes the destructive folly of man...
Corey Hall - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
War Horse is like a movie from another era -- an old-fashioned, Golden Age-style epic that will likely get better with time.
Jason Zingale - Bullz-Eye.com
An old-fashioned tearjerker, this winning War Horse is well worth the ride.
Matt Stevens - E! Online
The maestro Spielberg returns to the battlefield with an epic, emotional adventure
Don Groves - sbs.com.au
Rooted in a buffed-up, sanded-down vision of rural England, where even alcohol-fuelled poverty is given a picturesque, storybook patina.
There is a very simple, uncomplicated emotional punch to it, and while I don't think it's especially deep, it is often lovely.
Drew McWeeny - HitFix
Sorry, Mr. Spielberg, but this one gets a "C" biscuit.
Jim Vejvoda - IGN Movies
Striking, stirring and sentimental, joining Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" and "Schindler's List" in a universal plea for peace.
Susan Granger - SSG Syndicate
Has just about everything you'd want from a Spielberg drama, except the narrative force and emotional power of the director's best work.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
For certain movies, the adjectives "formulaic" and "predictable" are complimentary. War Horse is one of them.
Lawrence Toppman - Charlotte Observer
War Horse is a soppy, schmaltzy film about the great love between a teenage boy and a young horse, but it's quality schmaltz
Andrew L. Urban - Urban Cinefile
Take some tissues and be prepared for a huge emotional wallop in Steven Spielberg's wonderful film about an extraordinary horse
Louise Keller - Urban Cinefile
Lacking subtlety, War Horse is one of Spielberg's most accessible melodramas, exhibiting in its visual style classic Hollywood cinema and deliberately made for all members of the family.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
I'm happy to admit I cried. I'm willing to bet that you will, too.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
But though War Horse is achingly sentimental, the people who will cry the most are the Washington lawmakers who just legalized selling horse meat in America ten days before War Horse's release. Bad timing, dudes.
Amy Nicholson - Boxoffice Magazine
It doesn't tarnish Spielberg's reputation as a virtuoso purveyor of four-square mainstream entertainment... but if you're making a film that feels like a surefire award-winner, then at the very least it needs to feel like it's worthy of those awards.
Todd Gilchrist - The Playlist
Masterful. HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY, meets WINCHESTER '73, meets THE BLACK STALLION, meets ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT. I loved every second of it.
Chris Bumbray - JoBlo's Movie Emporium
Janusz Kaminski's cinematography is superb and at times almost redolent, capturing the smells of both lush fields and grimy trenches, but the film's stabs at episodic drama are torpid and unambitious.
Brent Simon - Screen International
Genuine in its emotion, unflinching in its reality, epic in its grandiosity, effective in its performances, and imaginative in its storytelling.
Joe Marino - Daily Telegraph
You certainly can't accuse Spielberg and his screenwriter collaborators Richard Curtis and Lee Hall of not trying.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express