2011-01-23 20:14
What it's about:

Penny Chenery Tweedy (played by Diane Lane) inherits her father's prize-winning Virginia-based Meadow Stables and, together with her colleagues, guides her long-shot but precocious stallion Secretariat to an unprecedented record for winning the Triple Crown. Based on the novel Secretariat: The Making of a Champion by William Nack.

What we thought:

If you're into horses, horse-racing and enjoyed Seabiscuit, then there is more than enough about Secretariat that will appeal to you. But be warned, it's a terribly dull, pedestrian little story about how a privileged woman won a bet and ended up striking it rich.

There really isn’t much else to this tale.

Secretariat is so focused on the horseplay that your enjoyment of this riches-to-even-more-riches tale will depend largely on how much you share its passion. Admittedly, horseracing has always seemed a peculiar pastime to me, meaning that I had to content myself with beautiful shots of the southern American landscape, and Diane Lane's freakishly blue eye contacts.

The performances are all capably delivered by a well-seasoned cast. John Malkovich plays the most colourful character (quite literally) as tempestuous horse trainer Lucien Laurin, and Nelsan Ellis (best known for his role as the flamboyant Lafayette on HBO's vampire dramedy True Blood) brings some gravity to his role as wise stable-hand Eddie Sweat.

Lane was possibly groomed for an Oscar nomination for this role, but there just is not enough material or gravitas to make this worthy of the recognition. Penny Chenery Tweedy is a fully actualised character, complete with with apple-cheeked children, a supportive husband and all the luck in the world. We're led to believe that she is a woman struggling to assert herself in a male-dominated industry, and while that have been true, the movie never addresses it with any conviction. We don’t have to root for Penny when she's faced with a fresh challenge as we already know the outcome.

So why bother?

A thoroughly bland retelling of the historic Triple Crown success of celebrated racehorese Secretariat in 1973.
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