I saw Secretariat tonight at a sneak preview screening with the rest of the RTIP. I enjoyed the movie, despite its fuzzy history and melodramatic tendencies. It is a nice tribute to Big Red. People who were old enough to remember 1973 will see it as a fun look back in time, and the young’uns will enjoy the racing scenes. Jim would have loved it (NOT ENOUGH GAFFNEY!!).
I found myself reciting the race calls of the Triple Crown races. I only tear up over horse races. By the time they got to Belmont I was on the verge of a meltdown – but not because of “Penny’s heartwarming family scene.” I was picturing the magnificent performance that I’ve seen thousands of times on video.
Secretariat is one of those personalities difficult to make non-documentary movies about because of the intensity of his fans. We know all the stats, have seen all the races and can quote the calls, we’ve seen all the interviews and heard all the stories from the major players.
He was such a striking physical specimen that it’s hard to cast stand-ins.
But the most difficult thing for a feature film to capture is the personality, the style, the raw emotion stirred by the original Big Red.
I would have been just as happy had they simply showed the original Triple Crown races on the widescreen, and wrap myself in nostalgia for a time and a hero I never knew.