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Black Beauty (2020) Review: A Horse's Journey - Disney+ Original Film

Poster for Disney+ Original Film Black Beauty
Sean Fang Tue, 24/11/2020 - 00:00


Summary: A solid if unspectaculate adaptations of the beloved book. Animal lovers will love it, others may appreciate the insight into the (sometimes cruel) life of horses. Recommended

If there's one thing that's certain to happen to the audience during the screening of a drama about an animal, is that there will be tears. The Disney+ Original reimagination of the beloved book, Black Beauty, is no different, nor is the "from the animal's perspective" narration of the story, which might have been unique at the time the book was published, but no longer in this day and age.

What arrives is a solid, if unspectacular, film that does, in my opinion, justice to the original source material. Mackenzie Foy ("Interstellar", "The Nutcracker and the Four Realms") stars as Jo Green, the grieving teenage girl who befriends a horse she later names "Black Beauty", and the horse that portrays Black Beauty is probably the real star of the film (while Kate Winslet's voiceover narration for the horse is also commendable). The film also features a solid performance by Iain Glen ("Game of Thrones"), the weird accent apart. The other characters are imminently forgettable, both in their performance and their storyline, other than the two other supporting horse actors. It goes to show that CGI animal acting isn't really necessary if one wants to portray emotions via an animal on screen.

Still from Black Beauty

Thanks to a healthy dose of anthropomorphism, we get to experience the story from the perspective of Black Beauty in a way that educates us, humans, to the plight of horses. And that's probably the movie's strongest point, making it easy to relate to the story of the horses, even if some of the human storylines seem quite trivial.

Overall, Black Beauty is a well-made film that's solid, if unspectacular. A worth adaptation of the original novel.

You can stream "Black Beauty" on Disney+ on 27 November 2020. Subscribe to Disney+ for only $8.99 per month, or $89.99 per year (16% off).

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