"Tender Moments Meet a Mixed Worldview"
What You Need To Know:
Based on the famous children’s novel by Anna Sewell, BLACK BEAUTY is a sweet, touching, entertaining movie, with appealing characters and beautiful cinematography. The movie has strong Romantic elements that stress physical beauty and include some idealistic dreaming on the part of the horse character. There are also, however, some strong moral elements. For example, family members look to reconcile their estranged relationship, and a man tends after animals with care and kindness. BLACK BEAUITY also has some light environmentalist elements and a New Age element when a horse mentions the value of her “mustang spirit.” So, MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children.
BLACK BEAUTY (2020) begins with a narration by the protagonist, a horse who’s soon to be called Black Beauty. The young mustang was born in a golden meadow where her mother and other mustang horses roamed freely. One day, though, when the horse was two, she ventures out of the meadow to find new animals in her midst, cows and sheep, plus some creatures called humans. Humans are different than anything she’s ever seen.
Black Beauty soon gets captured by a group of men who roam the hills looking for wild horses. She eventually ends up in the care of a horse trainer named John Mainly. John’s estranged niece, Jo, comes to live with him after her parents die in a tragic car accident. John and Jo butt heads but find common ground and reconciliation as they take care of Beauty and the other horses in John’s care.
Beauty catches the attention of a snobbish family called the Winthorps. Their son, George Winthorp, is different, however, than his relatives and cares for the animals and not just how they can make him look. For this reason, George and Jo connect as friends and develop a romance. Meanwhile, Beauty trains with George’s sister, Georgina, who’s mean to Beauty.
After a competition wounds Black Beauty, she leaves the Winthorps and Jo’s care to have a series of owners with different occupations, a wildlife guard and New York City carriage master to name a few.
However, although Beauty accomplishes valuable work, she can’t help but miss Jo, hoping they’ll reunite some day in the future.
BLACK BEAUTY is a sweet, touching, tender movie with lots of entertainment value, appealing characters and beautiful cinematography. The Disney+ original functions similarly to THE CALL OF THE WILD with Harrison Ford as the movie focuses on the animal as the protagonist. That said, some older viewers might be deterred by the reliance of voice over by Kate Winslet who plays Beauty, but it won’t stop any children from appreciating the movie.
Based on the famous children’s novel by Anna Sewell, BLACK BEAUTY has a mixed worldview. There are strong Romantic elements that stress physical beauty, both in animals and landscapes, and some idealistic dreaming on the part of the horse, along with an emotional love for poetry. However, there are also strong moral elements where family members look to reconcile their estranged relationship, and a man tends after animals with care. Some light environmental elements stress a politically correct view of animals. For instance, a young girl wants to change the phrase “breaking a horse” to “partnering.” There are also some New Agey elements when a horse mentions the value of her “mustang spirit” and going toward the sky when death comes. So, MOVEGUIDE® urges caution for older children.