Sunday, October 17, 2010

Movie Review: Secretariat - PG

When her mother dies and her father begins to become confused and unaware of his surroundings,  Penny Chenery Tweedy and her brother take over his horse farm.   Her brother Hollis is responsible for the farm, and Penny is responsible for the horses.  Due to an agreement made years prior by her father, Penny 'wins' a coin toss for Secretariat.  Actually it is over two colts sired by Bold Ruler, and Ogden Phillips wins, but he chooses the other.  There are several people who try to discourage Penny from becoming involved in racing, including her husband and brother, but Penny is determined.   Racing is really a man's sport at the time, so Penny uses her maiden name Chenery.   One fact I had forgotten is that Secretariat's original name was Big Red, but due to naming requirements, he was registered as Secretariat.  His owner, trainer and handler stll refer to him as 'Red though.

I an certainly no expert on horse racing, but it seems that that all the ingredients are  present for Secretariat's success:  an owner who cares  about him and won't listen to skeptics, the best trainer available, an excellent handler who cares about him, and Secretariat's own heart and will to win. 

Diane  Lane was very good as Penny, but the best acting was John Malkovich as Lucien Lauren, Secretariat's trainer.

Aside from his victories, the two moments  that stood out for me were one at the starting gate where Secretariat and his main opponent were actually staring each other down, and the second when his handler was washing and brushing him and had some gospel music playing; it looked like Secretariat was actually dancing.

An excellent movie that is both thrilling and moving.


No comments: