Like War Horse, but more adorable! This week Horse Nation film critic Amanda Ronan reviews The Colt, a Hallmark movie starring a colt born in the midst of the Civil War.
The Colt opens just after a rather gruesome battle in the Civil War. Jim Rabb, played by Ryan Merriman, goes to his lovely mare for solace, after his brother’s death, only to find that she has given birth to a colt.
For reasons that I failed to understand, the birth of the colt was a huge problem for the soldiers. It would “slow them down,” “bring them shame,” etcetera etcetera….so the colt has to die. What!?!?
Luckily, this is the Hallmark Channel not the Walking Dead so the colt is miraculously spared by a misfiring rifle! YEAH! Shortly afterwards, the colt shows “conspicuous gallantry in battle” and becomes the unofficial mascot for the Union cavalry, complete with red bandanna.
A few days later, after being attacked by a Rebel sniper, Jim and the horses are separated from their regiment. On their journey back from enemy territory, Jim and the colt meet a variety of characters: an eager journalist looking to make a name for himself, a dying Rebel soldier who begs for a Christian burial and a letter to be sent to his sister, and a kind farmer with bad lungs and a big heart.
The trio find the rest of the Union cavalry just in time to push across the river, which happens to be heavily guarded by Rebel forces. In the ensuing chaos, the colt is separated from his dam and swept down river.
Can the colt possibly survive the deadly river amidst a battle? You’ll just have to watch and see!
This movie surprised me. It was like War Horse on 1/20th of the budget. The first hour was pretty run of the mill, although I think slightly above par for a Made-for-TV movie. The only thing that bothered me was Jim’s motivations. One minute he is threatening to kill the colt and the next he is gallivanting through the countryside in defense of it? Otherwise, the story was solid and the acting was quite emotional at times. I don’t know if there is anything sadder than one battered war hero crying over his dying friend and saying, “Go on now. Go on home to yer Momma.” The film was entirely character driven and most of it was spent with these men talking just before or after small skirmishes and around campfires. I doubt Hallmark has the budget for an epic war film filled with special effects and huge battles, after all. Regardless, we got the message that war is bad no matter what side you are on and on whatever scale.
And the ending! Oh geez… I was shocked. I did NOT see that coming.
I give The Colt 2 ½ Golden Horseshoes.