Alert
Close

Get free help preparing your taxes from AARP Foundation Tax-Aide. Find a location

Highlights

Open

Bob Dylan Talks!
Caucasian couple looking at a laptop computer together

Horoscope

Pisces - AARP Horoscope

Look at what your future holds if your birthday is between Feb. 19 & March 20

CONTESTS & SWEEPS

AARP Superstar Contest

Sing for a chance to win $5,000! Enter AARP’s Superstar 2015 Contest!
See Official Rules

Win an ARRP Real Pad Tablet - Tribute to an Ancestor Contest

2015 LIFE@50+ MIAMI

Renew for 3 and attend Life at 50+ for free

Most Popular

Viewed

Movies for Grownups

Secretariat

A stirring story of the Triple Crown winner — and the woman who believed in him.

   

Secretariat (PG)

  
It's being promoted as a sports movie, but I'm not so sure. Introducing Secretariat at the recent Movies for Grownups Film Festival, I noted that this was much more a movie about a woman than a horse. And therein lies the triumph of the film — and a minor weakness.

Secretariat
, based upon the book with the same name by racing columnist William Nack, tells the story of the 1973 Triple Crown champion's owner, Penny Chenery. Following the death of Penny's father, her brother and sister want to sell the family's Virginia horse farm. But Penny — a Colorado housewife and mother who also happens to be a Columbia Business School grad — resists. Somehow, she manages to put her domestic life on hold — parenting by telephone — for a number of years to step into her father's shoes. At the farm, in short order she fires the stable manager, tracks bloodlines to select ideal breeders, oversees the birth of Secretariat, hires the flamboyant trainer Lucien Laurin — and the rest is history.

After a slow start, the lovely Diane Lane warms into the role of Penny; stiff at first (perhaps in an attempt to portray female toughness as it might have been viewed in the 1960s), she emerges as the spirited, independent, feisty and fun woman Mrs. Chenery still is today at age 88. John Malkovich is brilliant as Laurin, bringing viewers along with him on the nerve-wracking, exhilarating racetrack ride. Scott Glenn, who plays Penny's ailing father in the opening scenes, could have benefitted from greater character development, while James Cromwell, who plays a competing horse race business owner named Bull Hancock, does a terrific job of imbuing his character with the aristocratic sensibility of thoroughbred breeders.  Margo Martindale, as Christopher Chenery's secretary and, ultimately, Penny's right-hand woman, is fun to watch, as is Nelsan Ellis, who plays Secretariat's handler Eddie Sweat.

Director Randall Wallace (who wrote and directed We Were Soldiers) does a good job of building suspense and anticipation; by the time Secretariat gets to the Belmont Stakes, third leg of the Triple Crown, audiences will be on their feet cheering.

But given that the lady behind the horse is the true subject here, I wish, in the end, I understood more thoroughly the impact the sacrifices she made had on her family, why she did it and what it truly felt like for her when her horse won it all, after all.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

 

Movies for Grownups Radio

Download weekly podcasts of celebrity interviews, entertainment news and more. Listen


Movies for Grownups Awards

AARP honors the films and filmmakers who make the movies we want to see. Read

300_line
100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

100 Must-See Movies for Grownups

By Bill Newcott
E-book
January 2015


A treasure trove of delightfully offbeat recommendations for discerning moviegoers, from the beginnings of film right up the present.

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Live Nation

Members save 25% or more when buying tickets in groups of four from Ticketmaster.

Cirque Du Soleil

Members save 15-30% on tickets to live Cirque du Soleil shows with their AARP membership card.

Pepperoni Pizza, Papa Johns Superbowl promotion for AARP members

Members save 25% off regular menu price orders at Papa John's.

Member Benefits

Join or renew today! Members receive exclusive member benefits & affect social change.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points