Born free into a herd of wild horses in the American West, Beauty (voice of Kate Winslet) doesn’t realise what’s in store for her when she encounters humans for the first time. Blaming herself for what happens, Beauty is captured and sold along with the other horses. Many meet a sad and cruel end.
A horse trainer named John (Iain Glen) sees something special in Beauty and takes her to his ranch to be broken in, but Beauty won’t yield to him. When John’s orphaned niece Jo (Mackenzie Foy) comes to live with him, she and Beauty develop an unbreakable bond. They share the pain of a tragic past, find strength in each other and slowly form an incredible friendship. As a result, their spirits begin to heal.
When a tragic fire ruins John’s stables, Beauty is leased to a new owner. Jo vows that she’ll save enough money to buy Beauty herself. She also promises that no matter what happens she’ll find Beauty and they’ll be together again.
Beauty is bought and sold numerous times, and all trace of her seems lost. But Jo never gives up and never stops looking. Beauty learns that the power of love can keep you alive, even through the most difficult times.
Death of parents; separation of family; animal distress; cruelty to animals; snobbery; the gap between rich and poor
Black Beauty (2020) has some violence. For example:
- Wild horses bite and kick each other sometimes.
- Cowboys round up and forcibly remove wild mustangs from their home. Families of horses are separated, and Beauty never sees her mother again. The horses are treated badly.
- Jo’s parents are killed in a car crash. Their deaths aren’t shown, but the grief of their relatives is clearly depicted.
- It looks like Beauty will be killed if she can’t be broken in.
- Beauty repeatedly chases a boy out of the paddock every time he tries to feed her. He must shove himself through the fence or be trampled.
- When John tries to break in Beauty, she throws him off. She drags him across the ground with his foot caught in a stirrup.
- A girl digs her spurs into Beauty’s side and wounds Beauty. Later she pushes Beauty to the point that Beauty hurts her leg.
- Jo pushes a nasty girl into a pile of dirty hay.
- A horse dies after its own owner mistreats it. Its stiff body is shown in the back of a cart.
- When Beauty collapses in the street after seeing the body of her friend, the owner who mistreats her tries to have Beauty taken away and killed.
Black Beauty (2020) has some sexual references. For example, some girls try to flirt with a boy, but he sees Jo and ignores the other girls.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
Black Beauty (2020) shows some use of substances. For example, adults drink champagne at a racing event. A husband asks his wife how much she has had to drink and she replies, ‘Just enough’.
Nudity and sexual activity
Black Beauty (2020) has some nudity and sexual activity. For example, Jo and her husband kiss each other.
Black Beauty (2020) has some mild coarse language. For example, Jo occasionally uses the word ‘sucks’ to describe her life when she’s first forced to live with her uncle.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Black Beauty (2020) is an emotional drama and the latest version of a classic tale based on the 1877 novel by Anna Sewell. This movie captures the profound relationship and unbreakable bond that humans and animals can share. But it does have quite a few upsetting scenes, so it’s best suited to older children and adults. It will appeal to anyone who loves horses.
These are the main messages from Black Beauty (2020):
- Some spirits, whether horse or human, can never be broken.
- No matter how often your strength is tested, never give up on hope or love.
Values in this movie that you could reinforce with your children include compassion, persistence, loyalty, determination, resilience, hope, love and belief.
This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about real-life issues like:
- the process of breaking in a horse
- cruelty to animals
- thoughtlessness, ineptitude, vanity and selfishness
- the gap between rich and poor people.