Anna Sewell’s classic story of horse Black Beauty gets a 21stcentury update, with the British equine adventure transported to modern day America.
The original book about a male horse was actually written as a memoir, focusing on various episodes of Beauty’s life, but in this screen version the tale is mainly about the bond that grows between the horse – now a female mustang, voiced by Kate Winslet – and a teenage girl, Jo (Foy), sent to live with her ranch manager uncle John (Glen) following the death of her parents.
Of course, there is trouble ahead in the form of a fire, a bratty, spoilt show rider who wants Beauty for herself, and the separation of Jo from her beloved horse that leads to Beauty ending up as a carriage horse in New York’s Central Park.
It’s all covered in a huge dollop of sentimentality (Winslet’s American-accented corny narration doesn’t help), but that doesn’t stop the movie from often being sweet and rather lovely, especially in the scenes between Foy and the beautiful horse.
Horse fans will love it, as will anyone who requires a box of tissues when they watch any animal-themed weepie (and they’ll probably need two boxes for this one).
Is Black Beauty 2020 suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
Beauty faces peril including a fire in the stables, an unkind owner and – gulp – the possibility of being sold off to be made into glue during the movie, which may distress younger viewers.
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