Saturday, October 9, 2010


Sports drama
Based on a true story

Diane Lane: housewife and mother Penny Tweedy
Dylan Walsh: her lawyer husband Jack
Dylan Baker: Penny’s brother Hollis, a Harvard professor of Economics
Scott Glenn: Penny’s father Chris Chenery, owner of Meadow Stables
Margo Martindale: Miss Hamm, Mr. Chenery’s Personal Assistant
James Cromwell: Ogden Phipps, owner of Wheatley Stables
Fred Thompson: Bull Hancock, owner of Claiborne Farms
Nelsan Ellis: Eddie Sweat, Horse Groom
John Malkovich: veteran horse trainer Lucien Laurin
Otto Thorwarth: jockey Ronnie Turcotte
Nestor Serrano: Pancho Martin, owner of Secretariat's chief nemesis Sham

This unhurried telling of a Denver housewife who takes over her father’s horse farm and how her determination led to a notable sports triumph has the likeness of a Hallmark Hall of Fame movie: the highest production values, excellent acting for the most part and great attention to detail. In addition, it feels authentic.

Since not everyone is that well acquainted with the sport of horse racing, the timely expository material is welcome so we can all understand and appreciate what unfolds on the screen.

The producers have wisely kept the race sequences to a minimum since a camera following a group of horses running around an oval track can quickly become very boring. Instead using different camera angles, tight close-ups and crisp editing they have captured the excitement without overdoing it.

for brief mild language, very brief.

Miss Hamm is called into the room with others and stands near the threshold. As she is about to leave the camera angle changes to show the entire group but somehow she has magically moved in by 5 or 6 steps.

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