It doesn’t matter whether you like horses–okay, it helps–or horse racing, you will enjoy the new movie, “Secretariat.” Even though you know the horse wins the Triple Crown, the movie has you gripping the armrests during the races. It’s beautifully filmed–incredible race sequences–well-written, and the performances are terrific. And the story is compelling.
Clyde and I went to see this one immediately, and it is definitely worth seeing on the big screen. There’s the action–you really feel like you’re racing–and a certain grandeur in the setting. But it’s the storytelling that wins the roses with this movie. Much of the script was based on a book about Secretariat’s groom, Eddie Sweat, who is a wonderful supporting character in the movie. But this is owner Penny Chenery Tweedy’s story, and it’s one most women I know can relate to in one way or another. Penny is a wife and mother living in Colorado who goes home to Virginia for her mother’s funeral. Her father’s health is failing, and her brother wants to sell the home place and the horse business.
When Penny realizes that the trainer who’s worked for her father for years is trying to finagle a deal on one of the mares for another farm, she decides to step in. She knows very little about horse racing, but the man rubbed her the wrong way. Against the advice of her brother and husband, she finds a new trainer. The mare drops an amazing foal, and we’re off and running.
Relationships drive this story, and that’s where fine script writing comes in. Penny makes difficult choices, and we watch her juggle her many roles while she plays her cards close to the chest in a world dominated by men. We know the horse will win, but how will Penny fare? (That’s jockey Ron Turcott and the real Penny on the left.)
Diane Lane is wonderful in this role, and John Malkovich plays eccentric trainer Lucien Lauren with his usual flair. ( Malkovich is one of my favorite actors. )
Secretariat won the Triple Crown in 1973, just days before my first baby was born. I came home from the movie, took the baby book from the trunk, and turned to the page headed “In the News.” I had listed stuff about Watergate, Vietnam, and “Secretariat Wins the Triple Crown.” Oh, yeah. It was big news.
I just got the cover for the 2-in-1 re-release of two of my favorite Silhouettes–BROOMSTICK COWBOY and DEFENDER. My “look” of late has been the lone cowboy, which is fine by me. You don’t find many Western romances these days except in series, and it’s always been a favorite theme for me. A CERTAIN KIND OF HERO is scheduled for December, so I’ll talk it up in a month or so. Just thought I’d see what you think of my new guy, who fits Tate Harrison–hero of BROOMSTICK COWBOY very nicely.
Oh, and I saw previews for a movie we’ll be taking the kids to first day out around Thanksgiving. Disney’s version of Rapunzel is called “Tangled,” and I tell you I laughed aloud through the whole trailer.
DVD recommendation: “The Other Man” with Laura Linney, Liam Neeson, and Antonio Banderas. Terrific!
Have you seen any good movies lately? Any you’d like to warn us against?