Based on the remarkable true story, “Secretariat” chronicles the spectacular journey of the 1973 Triple Crown winner. Housewife and mother Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) agrees to take over her ailing father’s Virginia-based Meadow Stables, despite her lack of horse-racing knowledge. Against all odds, Chenery—with the help of veteran trainer Lucien Laurin (John Malkovich)—manages to navigate the male-dominated business, ultimately fostering the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years and what may be the greatest racehorse of all time.
Secretariat hit theaters on October 8th and I was lucky enough to be able to see an advance screening of the film before it's release date. I brought my Mom and her Husband along with me, which was nice to be able to do so since they were both around to witness the events when they actually happened and were able to tell me that the movie did in fact portray this remarkable event quite well.
I am going to admit that a sports drama isn't the first thing to come to mind when choosing the type of movie I'd like to watch, I tend to lean more towards horror & gore but Secretariat was able to keep my attention throughout the entire film. The theater was nearly full, and the audience cheered more than once with a standing ovation at the end. I haven't seen a standing ovation at the movie theater since Star Wars!
Diane Lane did a wonderful job of playing the part of Penny Chenery, the housewife who wasn't afraid to stand up for herself and defend what she believed in after the passing of her parents. The film truly focused on her, more on the horse itself but it also gave you a look into the lives of the other humans who helped Big Red succeed:
Secretariat also stars James Cromwell as Ogden Phipps, a wealthy financier and an integral figure in the racing community in the ‟70s; Dylan Walsh as Jack Tweedy, Penny‟s very traditional and highly skeptical husband; Dylan Baker as Chenery‟s brother; Margo Martindale as Chenery‟s assistant; Nelsan Ellis as Secretariat‟s groom; and real-life jockey Otto Thorwarth as Secretariat‟s jockey, Ron Turcotte. Also appearing in the film are Kevin Connolly and Eric Lange, who play the reporters who initially recognize Secretariat‟s potential.
Secretariat will touch your heart in ways you wouldn't expect, it will keep you on the edge of your seat, and while it is still a "chick flick" is one that the guys will want to see if horse racing or history is their thing. Now, when I think horse racing, I think gambling and I was wondering how they were going to get around that in a family movie but they really did a very good job of leaving it out. The only real mention of gambling is in the way that Penny obtains Big Red; a coin toss which was a long standing agreement between her father and Ogden Phipps where the winner of the toss got the first choice of which foal they would get to keep from two expecting mares. It was a coin toss which Penny lost - to her favor as she had decided beforehand that she had wanted the foal of Somethingroyal; Big Red's mother.
John Malkovich who acted as the horses trainer and fellow Canadian Lucien Lauren brought just enough humor without putting it over the top and was definitely my favorite part of the movie. I also loved the way that they filmed the races, almost making you feel like you were there; the pounding hooves thanks to the sound system in the theater added to the experience that much more.
Secretariat is rated PG for brief mild language but to be perfectly honest if you don't speak French (which I don't) you won't even know it's there. I would have no qualms against my children seeing the film, but there are very few movies that I restrict them from seeing so please use your own judgement.
Here is a look at the trailer once again:
If you have already seen Secretariat, let me know what you thought! If you haven't seen it, I definitely recommend it if you enjoy a good drama. You can connect with the Secretariat on Facebook as well as on Twitter or find more photos, videos, and true facts on Disney.go.com