Before I begin talking about this film, let me get one thing clear with you wonderful readers. I adore horses. I do not adore horse racing. I will admit to not being well educated on the art of horse racing, but I’m not a fan of pressuring animals to do something they do not have a voice to make an opinion on. However, for this post, I’m willing to look past my feelings on the matter and focus on the film.
Secretariat from 2010 stars Diane Lane as Penny Chenery Tweedy, a woman who had to make a difficult decision between raising her family and raising a horse. Not just any horse, however, but one which is the fastest known to mankind, of all time. Without giving much away, challenges arise during the duration but this heartwarming film will melt just about any soul.
Lane gives a revealing and wonderful performance of Penny, continually proving how she brings consistent depth to each character she portrays. The brilliant Margo Martindale plays Miss Ham, Penny’s father’s personal assistant. Also, huge credit must be given to Nelsan Ellis, who played Eddie Sweat, the wonderfully charming caretaker of Big Red. This film briefly stars James Cromwell (as Ogden Phipps), one of those actors whose face you know from many films but never receives the credit he deserves. Scott Glenn portrays Chris Chenery, another actor we all love, who is normally so kind and compassionate in his roles. There is one actor I’m leaving out, as this person deserves a separate paragraph for delivering such an amazing performance.
This is directed by Randall Wallace, who also gave us 2002’s We Were Soldiers and 1998’s The Man in the Iron Mask. He has not had the opportunity to direct many films, and although he may be no Joss Whedon, he is certainly a talented individual. Hopefully he will have the chance to direct more films based on true stories, as they may prove worthy as this one is.
The music in the film is also quite beautiful, some of which was written by director Wallace himself. “It’s Not How Fast, It’s Not How Far” and “I Am Free” are both brilliantly written songs for this film which added to its sincerity throughout.
Remember my mentioning someone being in this film who deserved a separate paragraph due to their performance? This honor belongs to the one and only John Malkovich. As I like to do, I saved the best for last, who was my favorite character of the entire film. Malkovich’s line delivery is, as always, out of this world. We saw him recently in 2011’s Transformers: Dark of the Moon; he also portrayed Humma Kavula in 2005’s The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, a recently reviewed Disney Film Project film. Despite fantastic performances in these films in addition to countless others (many of which require parental guidance), his role as Lucien Laurin was top notch.
This was the first time I had ever seen Secretariat, and I was honestly putting it off because animal films normally make me cry. Although I did get choked up during various scenes, a sob fest was not to be had. In fact, laughter took over more so than tears. This is an absolute must-see for the entire family. Everyone will enjoy this as it has a wonderful cast, superb acting, and a solid storyline. I’m seriously considering purchasing this on DVD. I feel blessed to have had the opportunity to see this fantastic film!
My Rating: 4.5/5
You never know how far you can run unless you run.