If you love horse movies, then you’ll probably love Disney’s newest, much-hyped Secretariat, which fits firmly in the genre of other recent triumphant equine epics–Seabiscuit (2003), Hildalgo (2004) and Dreamer (2005)–with one notable exception. Despite the film’s plethora of close-ups of the stallion’s deep, soulful eyes and its re-creation of some of Big Red’s most thrilling races, Secretariat isn’t really about the horse; instead, it’s a thinly-veiled ode to equality, courage and how a housewife becomes a savvy businesswoman in the eyes of her family and a nation.
Don’t get me wrong, Secretariat is still the star of his own movie; after all, he is a racing legend, something that the heavy-handed Biblical comparison which opens and closes the film strains to remind us. But the film’s ultimate goal seems to be to tell us the back-in-the-barn story of Big Red’s legacy, which goes something like this, “Behind every great horse, there’s a great woman.”
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