CONTRIBUTED: The tale of “Black Beauty” has been retold many times since it was first written by Anna Sewell in 1877. The story has changed with the times and changed for the better with the 2020 Disney Plus original film adaptation. The story follows Beauty, voiced by Academy Award-winning actress Kate Winslet, as she goes through life with a variety different people, one of which being that of young Jo Green (Mackenzie Foy).
This particular adaptation of “Black Beauty” brought many new aspects to the story that had never been seen before. In the book and the 1994 film adaptation, Beauty was a wild stallion, or a male horse. In the 2020 version, Beauty is a mare, or female. Also contrary to the book and previous film, was the setting. This story takes place in the American West instead of England. Jo is a girl in this version, while in other versions, the character was a boy, named Joe Green.
The cinematography in this film was stunning. It looked like it was a nature documentary. The music behind the shots made the scenes memorable and eye-catching. The running scenes, whether peaceful or intense, were beautiful works of art that shined into the viewers eyes.
This version of the story also kept some of the main themes Sewell included in the original story, such as the abuse of horses. Beauty went through a tough life with a lot of different forms of abuse and mistreatment. The 2020 film wanted to spread that message to the new generation of viewers.
The performances in this film were very emotional and driven. Mackenzie Foy played Jo Green with extreme passion and emotion that made the bond with Beauty very special. Kate Winslet provided an excellent voice for Beauty. Winslet’s performance mirrors that of Foy, full of emotion and passion. Iain Glen also provided an excellent performance as the wise, loving and caring Uncle John Green. The same can be said for Calam Lynch as Jacob.
Overall, this version of the story encapsulates what the original book and the 1994 film adaptation had to say, but in a new light and new way for a new generation of people to experience the unforgettable and iconic story of “Black Beauty.”