Secretariat (Review)

A sentimental bit of pablum about a horse that might be the greatest athlete of all time

Slip on your rose-colored glasses and get ready for a hokey sentimental bit of pablum about a horse that might be the greatest athlete of all time.

Disney has cornered the market on inspiration sports-themed stories (Glory Road, The Rookie), but rarely have the movies been infused with such astonishingly awful religious overtones. Twice during this film, Secretariat, the racehorse, gets a heavenly musical showcase to the strains of “Oh Happy Day” and director Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers) frames the scenes like a black velvet portrait of the horse as if it were Jesus preaching the sermon on the mount. It’s too bad that none of the human characters in this “impossible true story” failed to get this kind of treatment from either Wallace or writer Mike Rich.

Diane Lane, as Penny Chenery, the owner who found herself at odds against her family, the racing establishment and the sexist society at large, holds her head high and never wrinkles her nose as she steps into pile after pile of stinky crap, but she doesn’t have the kind of moments here that Sandra Bullock had that earned her an Oscar in The Blind Side. Doing her best Mary Magdalene, Lane just gets to stare meaningfully into the eyes of her fleet-footed savior. Grade: D-plus

Opens Oct. 8. Check out theaters and show times, see the trailer and get theater details here.
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