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Secretariat wins by a nose 

While the rest of the film lags on, director Randall Wallace makes his money shots with the racing sequences.

A list of Secretariat’s flaws would stretch all the way around a racetrack but, mimicking its equine subject, the movie outruns most of them through sheer force of will. The story of the horse that became the first Triple Crown winner in 25 years in 1973---and its scrappy owner Penny Tweedy (Diane Lane)---is larded with corny speechifying. A plot line about tension in the Tweedy family drifts into the background only to re-emerge, mysteriously resolved, at the end. What does Secretariat have going for it? The horse, of course. The racing sequences are breathtaking, director Randall Wallace managing to create suspense from foregone conclusions. And John Malkovich provides lots of hammy horsepower, munching through scenes like they were buckets of hay as a flamboyant trainer.


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