No private, empty matinee was to be had at Bridgeport’s Meadowbrook Mall cinemas on Dec. 26. The theater for Spielberg’s epic War Horse was packed for a rare treat reminiscent of Hollywood’s glory days many decades ago. No easily timed boilerplate plotlines nor predictable special effects characteristic of today’s usual fare. Not even any sex. Instead unfolds a love story that survives the grit of real life over time and dire, often ugly, circumstances.
Redemption runs deep in this film. Three times Joey is literally sold; several times he’s protected or freed by various human beings, mercy for the brave, innocent creature welling in their hearts despite – and because of – WW I roiling around and among them. Compassion for this horse came from both sides of the war, transcending human political skirmishes, the best of the human spirit surviving deep inside some hearts, despite embittering influences all around.
It’s difficult to imagine horses playing such a role in WWI warfare, scarcely a century ago, quite recent as human history goes. But War Horse depicts a time, barely within the memory of today’s oldest generation, when mankind was aware of his dependence on the natural world. Today we are not. As recently as then we grew our own food, often with the help of a horse and plow; now we suckle at large buildings whose teats are fueled by gas-guzzling tractor trailers from agribusiness. We are lazy, presumptuous and fill our life with amusements; we are thereby dangerously vulnerable.
Culture and fashion cycle around every few years. On the heels of native West Virginian Landau Eugene Murphy’s unexpected national revival of Old Blue Eyes-style class in music, perhaps War Horse will stir our hearts for the plight of today’s non-human creatures among us, who currently serve too often as a distraction or amusement rather than the biological responsibility they are.
Technology’s great but not our salvation, nor the soil from which our souls draw sustenance. When asked about the adjustments his winning title and subsequent success have brought, Landau recently replied about West Virginia, “I missed the trees.” Go see War Horse, and take some tissues. If you have a heart, you will need them.
Official Website : http://www.warhorsemovie.com/
The author is Director of Bless the Pets, a Christian service and outreach to area animal welfare workers and the unwanted, neglected pets they care for. Her web site is http://blessthepets.webs.com. Contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.