by David Schuster
I don't often get to write a review of a movie that hasn't even opened yet but I was fortunate to see an advanced showing of "Secretariat". Great theater, cozy seats, very few people to contend with and best yet, a real good movie.
Those who know me best will say what's wrong with you Schuster? That's two straight favorable reviews but after seeing "Social Network" and now "Secretariat" I'm on a movie high. By the way I told you the movies would get better once we turned to Autumn. They certainly couldn't get worse after one of the most miserable summer seasons ever. But whether "Secretariat" came out in Fall, Summer, Winter or Spring, this was one very enjoyable flick. Also, being a Disney production it's a movie for people of all ages.
For those who don't know, Secretariat is known as probably the greatest race horse ever. He was a beautiful big red colt that won the triple crown in 1973. The triple crown is the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes that run consecutively over a period of seven weeks. The Triple Crown has only been won eleven times since 1919. Just twice since Secretariat claimed it, lastly by Affirmed in 1978. However, Secretariat's crown is perhaps the most significant of all, as he decimated his opposition.
Secretariat was owned by Penny (Chenery) Tweedy who took over her family's racing farm after her folks died. There was incredible pressure on her to sell both the farm and the horses but she saw something special in this one horse and decided to risk it all. Tweedy is played by Diane Lane while John Malkovich portrays Lucien Laurin (trainer) who used to dress up in crazy outfits but really knew his trade.
Being a Disney production the movie definitely pulls at your heart strings as Tweedy had to deal with saving a farm while juggling her own family (husband and four children.) Lane, like she usually does, pulls off the role perfectly. This is an actress who is now a middle aged woman, but still looks beautiful. Malkovich is so good at whatever diverse role he plays.
Being a sports movie didn't hurt in my eyes, as some of my favorite movies of all time have been sports oriented. "Hoosiers" and "Field of Dreams" area two such examples. This one is just below the class of those, but still incredibly good. Secretariat in real life was a massive winner and so is this movie. I'm giving it a home run - three and a half stars, and recommending you see it when it comes out.