‘Secretariat’ the movie is far from a winner
Wed, Oct 6, 2010 (6:31 p.m.)
Working hard to become the next feel-good hit along the lines of The Blind Side, Disney’s Secretariat manages to reduce the story of the Triple Crown-winning racehorse and its owner, Penny Chenery (Lane), to nothing but bare-bones inspiration and exposition. Dialogue is either stiffly declaratory (characters who have worked in horse racing for decades explain the concept of the Triple Crown to each other) or laughably sentimental (impassioned speeches abound). Lane has some grit as the determined housewife who refused to sell her late parents’ stable of horses and stuck to her faith in Secretariat’s ability to win races, and John Malkovich provides plenty of ham to go with the cheese as the eccentric trainer who brought out the best in the remarkable horse. As heavy-handed as it is predictable, the rest of Secretariat barely rises above TV-movie levels; instead of feeling good, it just feels hollow.