Disney's "Secretariat" is based on the true story of the thoroughbred racehorse named Secretariat, an incredible animal renowned in the racing world because of his amazing achievements. In 1973, Secretariat became the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby in 25 years. Not only that, he set an all-time racing record that no horse since has come close to touching.
"Secretariat" the film tells the tale of Secretariat's racing career from the beginning, starting with his birth on a collapsing breeding farm and working its way up to the horse's historical victory at the Kentucky Derby.
Impressively, despite history recording the inevitable outcome of the film, "Secretariat" manages to convey suspense, drama and tension at every turn. Audiences know that Secretariat will win the Kentucky Derby, but his owners do not. The acting of Diane Lane as Penny Chenery, the horse's owner, is especially impressive, as she has to convey feelings of hope, despair, grief, determination, nervousness - sometimes all at once.
Indeed, the true tale of "Secretariat" is not about the horse, but rather about the people around him. For example, during the film Chenery struggles to save her family's farm while juggling her duties as a housewife. A major source of tension comes in the form of Chenery's husband and brother, who would rather sell the farm and Secretariat altogether, have Chenery return to her own home and her duties as a mother and housewife, and never hear another word about the matter. But despite the fights and lack of support from her family, Chenery just can't let her farm, and her own long-lost dreams, go. She wants nothing more than to see her farm return to its former glory, and she works hard to balance her life in two very different worlds during the course of the film.
Because the film is about the people rather than the horse, race scenes in this film are limited; films like "Seabiscuit" have far more racing scenes than this one. But the scenes that do exist are filmed brilliantly, with camera angles and movements that put the audience directly onto the racetrack and even on the back of Secretariat himself.
Overall, this film is uplifting and fun. It is truly Disney flick, and it's definitely one of the company's best productions.
- Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh, Dylan Baker, Margo Martindale
- Walt Disney Pictures
- Randall Wallace