Neal Vitale Reviews: Tamara Drewe
Political Briefs

Neal Vitale Reviews: Secretariat

4 stars out of 5

Secretariat is a wonderful throwback to an earlier era of kinder, gentler film-making - retro adjectives like "heartwarming" come to mind. Disney has publicly stated a desire to revive the family film, and this is a major step in that direction - though early box office results suggest that the challenge of attracting an audience is not inconsiderable. Secretariat is a fine effort, a well-written and well-paced biopic of 1973 Triple Crown winner and his determined owner, Penny Chenery. A strong cast of mostly lessen-known talent, led by a focused and unflinching Diane Lane (Unfaithful, The Perfect Storm) as Chenery and a well-modulated John Malkovich (Burn After Reading, Changeling) as Secretariat's trainer, drives this film. One could fault Secretariat's tendency toward melodrama, but that would be nitpicking - I am happy to overlook a few shortcomings to support films of this quality.