Oct 17, 2010

Movie Review: Secretariat

There seemed to have been a fair amount of hype generated over this movie prior to it coming out, which usually is a red flag to me.  The trailers looked good, and I have always loved the story of the horse, but I thought that I might come away thinking that it wasn't much more than the sum of the several 60 second bites I saw.

This is an amazing movie.  Diane Lane gives a great performance as Penny Chenery, and has received a lot of Oscar hype, but in my opinion, John Malkovich steals every scene he is in as the trainer Lucien Laurin.  He is wonderful.

But I think the story is mostly about Penny fighting to be recognized as an intelligent women in the late 60's/early 70's more than the horse itself.  She goes through quite a lot making her way in an old white guys club, and doesn't back down.

The absolute #1 reason you have to see this movie though, and see it in a theater, is the cinematography.  This is what should get this movie an academy award nod, more so than the acting.  It is nothing short of breathtaking! 

Check out this extended clip:

I tried to find the clip from the movie of Secretariat running at Belmont and winning the triple crown, but they only have a short 30 second version.  Check out the real deal on youtube to recall how much he won by, but the clip in the movie is taken from so many angles that you don't see how they did it.  There is footage from underneath the horse, from the riders point of view, beside the horse, I mean everywhere! Finally, just before the final turn where he pulls away, there is a stopped scene taken from ground view all the way down the track, and they actually pull off narrating a bible quote.  I mean, I am not religious, but this really works.

Go see it.


  1. Not to be crude or anything...but I know the story of Secretariat's dominance. And they filmed from under the horse? Whose good idea was that?

  2. Anonymous7:55 AM

    I saw the trailer for this in the theatre last weekend and it didn't really catch my attention, but now that you mention the cinematography, I might go check it out. I think that John Malkovich pretty much steals the scene in almost anything he does. He, like William H. Macy, is one of those amazing actors that can take a film from good to spectacular. - G

  3. Cool. I want to see this movie!!

  4. I saw this movie and I wholeheartedly agree,=!!

    Stunning. The casting was brilliant. Diane Lane was simply stunning, Malcovich, genius and the costumes???

    I loved it! every minute of it.

  5. Thanks for the recommendation! I've been intrigued by it.

  6. Hmmm. I was curious. Thanks for the review.

  7. I agree! Took the kids to see it last week because my youngest asked. Expected to be bored - I mean, how suspensful can the horse races be when you already know he won the triple crown (and watched it the first time, back in '73)? - but the movie was really well done and it was amazing to be reminded of how far ahead he was down the homestretch at Belmont. And the back story was interesting, and well done, as well.

    Go see this one!

  8. ... uh, that should be "suspenseful"

  9. first diane lane is always amazing and gorgeous

    second secretariat was also amazing - i remember watching that race in 1973.......

    my grandfather used to take me to the ponies all time as a kid - i sat, he wagered. when he died he was buried a few blocks from Belmont so now he hears the horses clopping by for eternity