Wednesday, 25 January 2012
Poor John was off sick from work for a few days last week. But unlike other people, he doesn't 'do' ill. So he helped me muck out, and I should be grateful, but it's hard work mucking out with military precision and being told how to do the things you do every day of your life. That's all I have to say about that!
The high point, though, was making it to the cinema to see War Horse. Have you seen it yet?
Basically, all I can tell you is that I cried from start to finish. Because I can't spoil it for you if you haven't seen it, I will tell you there are a couple of places where I cried like a babe and one scene that was quite harrowing. I haven't cried like that since Schindler's List (also a Steven Spielberg production - coincidence?) If I tell you it's Black Beauty + war, that should just about sum it up.
The acting was a bit stilted at first, but the setting is stunning (part Dartmoor, part Dorset) and of course, the horse is beautiful. His name is Joey and it's all about his relationship with the boy he goes to live with. Later he has a horsey friend called Topthorne, and the way they were together is exactly how Barnaby and Zak relate to one another, it was so sweet to see other horses doing it, especially as they probably didn't even knew each other before filming started. They clearly had a bond.
Of course it was set during World War I and I kept wanting to shout, "Put a hat on!" but of course very few people bothered with that sort of thing in those days, did they?
And so I learned: We owe a massive debt of gratitude to all the horses that went to war during that time. Micheal Morpurgo wrote the book and during his research learned that a million horses died on the British side; he extrapolated an overall figure of 10 million horse deaths on all sides. Of the million horses that were sent abroad from the UK, only 62,000 returned, the rest dying in the war or slaughtered in France for meat.
When the film ended there was not a dry eye in the house. We could hear sniffing sounds as the audience collectively tried to pull itself together.
John and I drove home and went straight into the stables, to hug our boys and bury our faces in their necks, sighing with relief that they would never have to go through what those poor brave animals endured.
So yes, War Horse is a marvellous film, I can't recommend it enough. Go and see it if you can.