Although I borrowed a line from the classic show Mr. Ed, the film Secretariat has nothing to do with the tv show. (Ironically, there is a character named Eddie in the film though!) Starring Diane Lane, John Malkovich, James Cromwell, Dylan Walsh, Nestor Serrano, and Fred Dalton Thompson in a star-studded cast, and directed by Randall Wallace (writer of Braveheart, Pearl Harbor, and Man in the Iron Mask), Secretariat brings a story of determination through hardship, belief in one’s self and friends, and achieving goals in the midst of naysayers and doubters. I enjoyed this film. Here’s a look.
Penny Chenery (Lane) must balance caring for and financing her ailing father’s estate, being with her own family, and handling opposition from greedy investors seeking to prey on the disadvantaged and unexperienced new heir of the stables. Think of a horse movie….Seabiscuit, Dreamer, Black Stallion, and National Velvet may come to mind. All great movies. Do you remember the feeling you got as the star equestrian, in slow motion gallop, crossed the finish line and the crowd cheered, cried, and “huzzah”-ed?! Well, you will get the same feeling with chills running up and down your body watching this film as well. Disney did a beautiful job in creating a feel good movie about a horse named “Big Red”, or “Secretariat.”
But, is it a movie about a horse named “Secretariat”? I have to say that it’s not. It’s more about the owner Penny Chenery and her work to make Secretariat a success (financially and otherwise) for her family, estate, and friends/supporters. Most of the film deals with Chenery and her issues as she is away from home working on keeping her father’s estate afloat, trying to find the right people to train Secretariat (enter John Malkovich), and avoiding the barrage of financial vultures trying to take advantage of her impending failure. Perhaps the film might be better off being entitled “Secretariat and I: The Penny Chenery story.” Perhaps.
All that aside, Disney brings a family film to the big screen that all people can enjoy. Whether you love horses or could honestly care less, it is a good film. The cast was simply amazing and added some great elements to the telling of the story. My particular favorites of the film were Diane Lane and John Malkovich! Absolute film-fun to watch! The entire supporting cast worked well in this movie.
The racehorse, Secretariat, was the first horse in a long time to win the Triple Crown (1973), and this film portrays the story. Sorry for the spoiler…but it really isn’t a spoiler. This movie is based on a true series of historical events surrounding the most famous racehorse of, practically, all time. Watching this movie and not expecting Secretariat to win is like watching the movie Titanic and expecting the ship to never sink!
Whether you walk, drive, or gallop! However you get there, get to the theater and watch Secretariat!
p.s. I must say that John Malkovich had some FUN outfits in the entire film! Every scene he’s wearing something loud and crazy! He was my favorite in the movie.
Thanks for reading!
Enjoy if you wish…or don’t enjoy! Happy watching!
–The Sp1der’s Score: 6.5 out of 10 stars “Secretariat”
up next: “Trailer Time Thursday!”