“Secretariat”



Filed under : Movie Reviews

by Will

This week brings us “Secretariat” on DVD and Blu-Ray. The film about the famous race horse stars Diane Lane and John Malkovich, with appearances by Fred Thompson, James Cromwell, Dylan Walsh, Nelsan Ellis, and Scott Glenn. The film had a production budget of $35 million and brought in almost $60 million in ticket sales. It is rated PG for brief mild language.

When Penny Chenery’s (Lane) mother dies, she and her family travel to her family’s horse farm to set things in order. It is apparent that her father (Glenn) is no longer capable of running their horse operation. Penny decides to take over and get the farm back on track, despite the financial losses it has sustained over the past few years. Her decision leads to confrontation with her brother and husband (Walsh), both of whom want to sell the farm. They will soon have a new foal sired by Bold Ruler, a notable horse owned by Ogden Phipps (Cromwell). Penny’s hopes of saving the farm ride on the young colt, and she hires Lucien Laurin (Malkovich) to train him. After suffering early losses, they switch to a more experienced jockey, and the two year-old Secretariat’s rise to glory begins.

If you liked “Seabiscuit,” which came out in 2003, you’ll enjoy this film too. In many ways, the film is less about the horse, and more about Penny Chenery’s transformation from “housewife” to confident entrepreneur. Though Diane Lane portrays her character very well, Malkovich was especially excellent in this film. Usually, I think of him playing oddball characters in off-the-wall movies. Laurin’s quirky persona allowed him to utilize that quality to deliver a very convincing performance. The filmmakers’ choice to use original film footage for some of the races rather than re-creating them all gives the film an authentic feel.

3.5 popcorn kernels

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