Secretariat is a heartwarming, Rudy-esque story and an okay film. In the hands of another director it could have been a great film - Clint Eastwood, say, or Steven Speilberg - but it was a bit Disneyland for me; a little too beautiful, too whitebread, characters too perfect. For example, while Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) is off compulsively obsessing about her horse her family is unraveling but in such a lovely, wholesome way. A little darkness, a bit of realism would have been nice.
And then there's the trainer played by John Malkovich. Okay, now I know John Malkovich is considered an acting genius, but really...don't you think it's just because he's crazy? I think we often confuse the two.
I think he must have loved this part so he could dress like a peacock but his performance is unnecessarily over-the-top. And, okay, the character is French-Canadian, but did we need Malkovich ranting in fake-sounding French just so he could (sort of) show off?
BTW, I heard he is working on a clothing line. I thought it was a joke but it appears not. Who the hell would his audience be?
My Bill and I saw him on the street a few weeks ago, right across the street from my apartment, actually. He must have been staying at the Sofitel or the Tremont Hotel. Anyway, he was wearing jeans with the cuffs rolled up to about mid-shin, a yellow linen jacket and a red, cowboy-style kerchief tied around his neck. Pretty goofy outfit. I wonder if this is part of his new line.
So I give the movie 3-1/2 out of 5 stars. It just misses for me but it's a movie that the following people will love: my sister, Susan & Jerry, Cathy & Ted, Joann, and Renie & Harv. I'd put money on that. So you guys should go see it and tell me if I'm right.
Oh, and watch the Breeder's Cup on Saturday for another inspiring, true-life horse story. Zenyatta is running her 20th and final race and so far she's undefeated.
I see another movie in the making.