Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Mom Wins Because Her Horse Wins

First the acknowledgment – I got free tickets from BlogHer to see the movie Secretariat. I’m sure they gave out the free tickets because they hoped people would blog about the movie before it is released.

Second, the caveat – I don’t see the point of watching horses, dogs, cars, or humans run around track.  I can see the people who love doing this sort of thing enjoying the fun of racing or moving quickly.  I can see that people enjoy competing.  But I do not enjoy gambling – okay I gamble on my own talents all the time, but risking money on which horse will win a race, or who will get the best dice throw is not my idea of fun.

Still, there’s something about race horses that attracts interesting people – people who are in financial straits – people who have complex lives.  The movie SeaBiscuit was about a small overlooked horse managed by 3 troubled men.

This movie, Secretariat, is about a big well-bred horse owned by a woman whose father died leaving her his horses, and a $6 million debt in federal taxes.  This horse is trained by a man who wants to retire, and ridden by a jockey who perhaps works horses to death.  I knew in advance that Secretariat was a horse that won races.  That’s not enough of a reason to make a movie, let alone a Disney movie.

For me, the fascinating part of this movie is the way Disney handles the feminism of the mid 70's.  The highpoints of the movie are the relationship between the optimistic, persistent horse owner and her daughters.

And there’s a great scene in which the woman, Penny Tweedy, takes one of her sons to watch the birth of Secretariat (really known as Big Red). Penny explains that the mother horse has done this 13 times before.  The son says, “You’ve done it four times.”

No spoilers.  I just wonder how the relationship would have gone if Secretariat had lost the races.

The acting is believable. And the movie has cameos by the real Penny Tweedy.


  1. You haven't convinced me to either see this movie, or avoid it.
    Guess I'll wait til it arrives on TV.

  2. The movie is okay. I sat through it, maintaining interest. It's not memorable, even though the acting is convincing and plenty of the dialogue is clever. It's probably close to historically accurate. There's nothing about it that won't come through fine on your television. It's enjoyable.