The fourth screen adaptation of Anna Sewell's classic novel is, in some ways, the most faithful and accomplished. Screenwriter and director Caroline Thompson recounts the life of Black Beauty, an aging, handsome stallion living in Victorian England. The film is narrated by Alan Cumming as the voice of Black Beauty, who spends a happy childhood on a rambling country estate before being ravaged by illness and surviving a horrible stable fire. However, the worst is yet to come as Black Beauty's new owners subject him to life as a horse for rent and, later, as a taxi puller in working-class London, before he can retire in peace. The original novel was written to draw attention to the cruel treatment of animals in 1877 England, and the issue's continued relevance today adds poignancy and gravity to this affecting tale. The film is episodic, as was the book, and the topic is handled with sensitivity and care.