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By Chris Rebholz
Jan 19, 2011 03:15 PM EST

Secretariat Blu-ray Review

Secretariat Blu-ray Review
Purchase  Blu-ray | Digital HD
Horseracing is a hard and unforgiving sporting event. The horses are pushed to the limits of their endurance and sometimes beyond. The owners and riders of these animals face similar challenges in that many of their careers and lives depend on the results. The best-known race is The Kentucky Derby. It is part of an event called the Triple Crown that involves two other races at Preakness and Belmont. The most famous horse to come out of these races in Secretariat. His story has come to the big screen with the help of Diane Lane and John Malkovich.
 
The story of Secretariat is really the story of Penny Tweedy (Diane Lane), a mother and wife who grew up on her father's horse farm. The film opens with a typical morning for the year 1969. The family sits at the table while mom rushes around the kitchen getting everyone their breakfast and preparing for the days chores. A phone call interrupts this scene with the news that Penny's mother has passed away. When they get to the farm Penny finds her father in his study not completely aware of what has transpired. The beginnings of dementia are setting in and with the realization that her father's farm might become lost, Penny decides to try and bring the place back to its former glory.
 
After some advice from an old family friend Penny enlists the help of an eccentric horse trainer named Lucien Laurin, played by John Malkovich. Penny has also placed her hopes on the offspring of a mare in her care. Born of excellent parentage the baby is nicknamed Big Red. As he grows into maturity Penny decides that the best way to raise money to help the farm is to race the horse. Her father's trusted assistant and family friend comes up with the name Secretariat. After a rocky start at a few races Penny begins to see the promise in the steed. While she is working around the clock to get the horse ready for all these races her marriage begins to take a rocky turn. Her family is out in Denver and her husband is not making her decision to stay on the farm any easier for her.
 
When Secretariat wins his first few races he starts to draw a lot of notice and as such Penny sees the possibility that her fathers farm may survive. Eventually there is talk of the horse going to the big three races and naturally there is concern that he wont be able to make it through all three. While the movie boasts an impressive cast all of whom have shown amazing talent throughout their careers, it's not so much the performances but the tone of the movie itself that make the whole film seem a bit forced. Penny Tweedy is someone who took on extraordinary responsibilities during a time when woman were still looked at as inferior in contrast to men. With that being said there is never too much of a sense of struggle for her, you know how the story is going to play so you don't feel the concern you should for what she went through.
 
Now on Blu-ray the film has been translated gorgeously. The sound and picture quality really come through as you watch it. It helps that the movie was shot in some amazing locations, which offer wonderful images for the eye. On the two-disc pack you can find a Blu-ray and standard edition of the movie as well as docs discussing the choreography of the races, an interview with the real Penny Tweedy, audio commentary from the director, a multi-angle view of Secretariat's 1973 Preakness run, a look into his incredible career and a few deleted scenes.
Overall the film is one about triumph over adversity and even though the movie tries to focus on the horse, it really is the story of an incredible woman who decided to take the reins of life and run at full speed regardless of the consequences. 
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MPAA Rating: PG
Running Time: 116 minutes
Distributed By: Walt Disney Pictures

For more information about Secretariat visit the FlickDirect Movie Database.


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About Chris Rebholz

FlickDirect, Chris  Rebholz

When Chris was but a wee lad growing up in the slums of suburban New Jersey, he happened to rent a little movie called Tron. Then his head exploded. It was at the moment that he realized that he loved movies, and since then Chris has made it a habit of renting movies, going to the movies, discussing his favorite movies, and anything else in between when it comes to that genre. Read more reviews and content by .

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