War Horse, and Imagining Peace

Steven Spielberg's War Horse, a story of World War I, is a film well worth your time, regardless of age.

We went to an outstanding movie at the Tuesday: Steven Spielberg’s War Horse.

My spouse asked me more than once, “Are you all right?”

It is one of those films that elicits strong emotional response. I would guess I wasn’t alone among the surprisingly large crowd in the dark, quiet theater.

War Horse opened Christmas Day and is set in World War I England and France. There are a great plenty of reviews. Take your pick.

My personal reviewer—the friend who urged us to see the movie—was my friend, 90-year-old Lynn Elling, Minneapolis, (see photos) born shortly after WWI and a veteran of the Pacific theater in WWII. Lynn was an officer on an LST in both WWII and Korea, who saw in person the carnage at places like Tarawa.

Lynn and Donna, his wife of 67 years, saw the film opening day. The Elling’s Christmas letter, received some weeks pre-release, urged receivers to see the film.

Lynn’s visit to Hiroshima in 1954 cemented his lifelong dedication to seeking enduring peace in our world; he is tireless in his quest.

Lynn’s story can be found here.

Sure, War Horse is simply a story, as are most movies we attend. But it elevates the better side of humanity, even in the horrid reality of war.

I would suspect its timed release on Christmas Day in some way was meant to mirror the oft-told story of the Christmas Day Truce on the WWI battle lines. There are endless renditions of this true story. Here’s the portal to them—take your pick.

There is truly an opportunity for peace on earth, and it is the people like ourselves who will make it happen.

See War Horse for yourself. I don’t believe the two hours and twenty minutes will disappoint.

The writer blogs regularly at outsidethewalls.org/blog.

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Edward January 06, 2012 at 02:02 PM
Great movie, but NOT for children. The war scenes are intense, even for adults.
Dick Bernard January 06, 2012 at 03:19 PM
I mostly agree with Renee, and I suppose she notes my hurriedly written summary comment 'regardless of age'. I wouldn't encourage kids below high school age to see this. On the other hand, kids (and all of us) are subjected to virtual violence that is much worse than in this film, and we have become unaware of the human cost of war. I'm guessing Lynn, who saw the results of war up close and personal, and has grandkids and great grandkids, might disagree with both Renee and I, and encourage everyone to see this, but that's personal preference.
Edward January 06, 2012 at 04:01 PM
Dick, thanks for the review. Without giving away any of the film, I think the scene you refer to, which mirrors the "Christmas Day Truce", actually happened, in many small ways, many times during WWI. I grew up across the street from an aging bachelor WWI vet, and like most old Wisconsin farmers of the time, he spoke fluent German, but not-so-fluent English. The American Germans (first-generation immigrants, like my friend, Mr. Yanecke) would often speak to the Germans at night or shout to them, as the trenches were close enough to converse with the enemy. Oddly, some relationships were formed, and it was not uncommon for news about friends and relatives in Germany to be passed along. Spielberg probably heard these stories as he did research for the movie, and added this scene.


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