I was in love with horses as a child, and read every book about them that I could get my hands on. So Secretariat (along with Man o’ War and Seabiscuit) was one of my early heroes, and I was thrilled to be able to see this movie. It was even better than I had hoped. I think I sighed more over that horse than I ever have over an actor. He was gorgeous. This movie didn’t have too many bad points, other than one really bad French accent (or maybe I’m just not familiar with Canadian French?).
I really liked the story line. In some ways, Penny Cheney was the typical underdog-who-makes-it-big-out-of-sheer-grit-and-determination character. But it was pretty refreshing to see a bright and successful woman on screen, who was not simultaneously young, sexy, and unattached. Despite being derided by most of the male characters in the film (including her husband) as a “housewife,” Cheney leads her horse to victory, and saves the family farm.
I love how the film portrayed her relationship with her oldest daughter, who was involved in the anti-war protests of the seventies. For both of them, furthering the causes they believed in strengthened their relationship, even when their political views were different. Cheney was a wonderful role model for her daughter (and the rest of her children). Here’s the preview, because I wholeheartedly recommend this movie (and because Secretariat is just beautiful).
My church young women’s adviser gave me this book when I turned sixteen, and I still love it. What a timeless story of courage, integrity, and yes, true love. This is the first movie adaptation of it that I’ve ever seen. There were some lovely moments, like the first firelit conversation between Jane and Mr. Rochester. On the whole though, it felt a bit rushed. And opening the movie with the middle of the story, and then replaying the entire scene when the story finally caught up to it came off as redundant and clumsy.
Character development was lacking in pretty much everyone, Mia Wasikowska’s magnificent Jane excepted. Rochester was too handsome and St. John too plain (although sufficiently insufferable). My husband (who hasn’t read the book) refuses to believe me that Mr. Rochester is anything more than a despicable cad, so I think his (significant) acts of atonement and reformation may not be played up enough. In any case, I did enjoy this adaptation, but I imagine there must be a better one out there. Any suggestions?