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About “Secretariat”

Free movie passes are fun. You might like the movie, but even if you hate it, it’s a chance to go somewhere and do something. My sister had to work, so she gave me her passes to a screening of “Love & Other Drugs.” I haven’t been doing very well with romantic comedies, or romantic movies at all lately, but the getting out of the house thing is important, so I went. Alone. Watching a movie isn’t so bad when you’re alone. It’s the after part, the long walk to the train part, that can be hard, but that isn’t what this post is about.

The line for the free showing of “Love & Other Drugs” hadn’t moved much when a representative told us that there were no more seats. Then he told us that our passes would be honored for  the free screening of “Secretariat.” Some left, but the rest of us were determined to see something, so we ran over to the other line. It seemed about twice as long as the one we were in, but when I got into the theater (of course this was a multiplex) there was plenty of room.

Around the time of Secretariat, I was a young teenager who fancied herself a bit of a hippie. I didn’t follow horse racing at all, but you couldn’t watch much TV back then without hearing about him, and understanding that he was a horse who had done something very special. His name had become synonymous with winning. Still, I didn’t think I would get into this movie very much, but I did. I think the people who put it together did a brave thing, considering that this is a mainstream film meant to make money. They took a hell of a horse story, and surrounded it with a story about how people love each other. It felt real to me.

Two women in line in front of me as we waited to leave, were discussing one scene where you would expect a certain show of affection toward another person, and instead the character walks away. They didn’t get it. I also found it jarring, but I’ve also found that sort of thing  jarring every time I’ve seen it in real life. In real life things happen all the time that we don’t get. People are like that. It’s the movies that have us expecting the grand gesture, and being disappointed when it doesn’t come.

Seeing “Secretariat” was a moving experience for me, but there is a scene where Diane Lane’s character stands in front of the horse on the day before a big race, looks him in the eye and “communicates” something to him with her facial expressions, odd facial expressions. I wish the director had realized how stupid that looked, and had her just smile at him or something. But wait, for all I know, it might have happened that way in real life. Maybe they left out the part where the other people who were there, laughed.


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