Margaret’s Choice: Secretariat

Secretariat is a riveting movie from start to finish. Many of us remember the tremendous excitement on the day in 1973 when Secretariat won the Triple Crown at Belmont Stakes beating Sham, his archrival, by an unheard of 31 lengths. To see this remarkable race, click here to see YouTube posting on CFL entertainment page.


Even though Secretariat had won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, his win at Belmont was anything but assured. His sire, Bold Ruler, was well known for speed with little endurance. Until Secretariat, all of his offspring had this same failing. Secretariat was the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. It is now 37 years later and Secretariat’s record at the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont Stakes still stands.


What I particularly appreciated about this movie was the meticulous research and attention to detail. William Nack, the author of the book “Secretariat,” followed the life of the racehorse from the time he was born. The movie was based on his book, much like the movie Seabiscuit was based on Laura Hillenbrand’s book “Seabiscuit.” Having been a part of the 70s, I couldn’t help but notice the authenticity of the setting, clothing, hairstyles, home interiors, idiomatic expressions, etc.


The story line is simple. Penny Chenery, played by Diane Lane, is a housewife and mother when she agrees to take over her ailing father’s Meadow Stables in Virginia. With no real horse racing knowledge, Chenery manages to succeed in the male-dominated horse racing business with the help of veteran trainer, Lucien Lauren, who is played to perfection by John Malkovich. Diane Lane’s performance is a little stiff at the beginning of the movie, but she transforms into her character as the movie unfolds. The overall casting is spot-on.


Secretariat brings to life the powerful will and determination of one woman in the face of impossible odds. It is a can do, feel good movie that I highly recommend for all age levels.


Let's give this a rating: ******* (7/10)




* Margaret Paul is an artist. She participates in the Annual Mendicino Film Festival, is a former member of the board of directors of the Mendicino Theater Company and is a fund-raiser for the arts in Mendocino County, Calif. where she live. http://www.margaretsmosaics.com


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About Margaret Paul

Margaret Paul is an artist. She participates in the Annual Mendicino Film Festival, is a former member of the board of directors of the Mendicino Theater Company and is a fund raiser for the arts in Mendocino County, California, where she resides. http://www.margaretsmosaics.com

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