Secretariat (U)

Starring: Diane Lane, John Malkovich, Dylan Walsh
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The Independent Culture

Neigh, neigh and thrice neigh. From the Disney stable comes this long and syrupy true-to-life tale of a racehorse that broke records and won hearts at a time when America needed all the distraction it could get.

Diane Lane plays the feisty Denver housewife who braved a male-heavy culture (horse-racing in the early 1970s) to save the family stables and foster the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years. At her side is veteran trainer John Malkovich, sporting a French-Canadian accent (mais oui!) almost as ridiculous as his Superfly threads – tangerine jackets, pink shorts, the lot. The actual races, filmed in thunderous nag-cam, are quite exciting, though the camera keeps cutting away to get crowd reaction either at the course or in front of the TV – a deadly trope of the sports movie. It's essentially Seabiscuit for the Watergate years, with extra schmaltz on the side.