We haven’t seen Steven Spielberg’s War Horse—we’re not interested in any equestrian movie that’s not Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. But IndieWire’s Peter Knegt did, and he thinks its gay as blazes. (Spoiler alert)!
First and foremost, War Horse himself—or “Joey,” as lead character Albert names him—s totally gay. You can simply read this in the textbook way that he’s “different” from the other horses (mainly because no one thinks he could “plow a field,” ha) but it also gets a lot more literal.When Joey gets sent off to war, the British soldiers segregate him next to another horse —whose name I forget but it was most definitely masculine —who the soldiers also deem “different” and “unruly.” It’s only a matter of time before Joey and his next door neighbour are getting intimate, kissing each other, snuggling, and clearly growing to find an affectionate and mutual dependence on one another. They go through quite a lot: Being captured by the Germans (more on that later), spending some time with a over-the-top French girl (and on that as well), and they always have to fight not to be separated.
In the most dramatic display of Joey’s love for his mate (who given his fur is often simply referred to in an oddly racialized way as the “black horse”), he stops the Germans from making “black horse” the lead on a working line that he likely won’t be able to handle because of his poor health condition. Joey does so by making it clear he’s the right horse for the job instead, thus saving his lover’s life but threatening his own.
And it’s not just the horses that act swishy.
When the horses are captured by the Germans toward the beginning of the film, the soldiers hand them over to two young brothers. The relationship between the brothers is perhaps the most oddly homoerotic element of the entire film. They are intensely touchy, and the older brother’s protection of his younger brother is presented in an excessive, romantic manner. When the army threatens to separate the two brothers, the older one risks both their lives to keep them together. “We must stay together,” he announces like something out of a Nicholas Sparks adaptation.
But what about the movie’s central love story?
Then of course there’s Albert (played by the dreamy Jeremy Irvine)… Joey’s true love. Albert is obsessed with Joey from the moment they meet at he beginning of the film… So much so that it seems the entire British army is well aware of Albert’s long lost love. (Please, please note: I don’t intend to be drawing a correlation between homosexuality and beastiality here, I assure you. Because Joey is so humanized, Albert’s relationship with him feels the same way).
Well, so long as they draw the line there, we guess it’s okay.
Much has been made about the infamous Spielberg “face.” That look of profound realization— eyes wide and mouth slightly agape—that appears on so many of the acclaimed director’s characters. Does that include long, equestrian mugs as well?