Like Natalie Wood, actress Diane Lane inhabits roles with the naturalness of someone who's spent nearly a lifetime in front of the camera, and she's the bedrock of this inspirational sports story from Disney. She plays Penny Chenery, the Denver housewife and mother who rescued her father's Virginia horse farm and raised Secretariat, the legendary 1973 winner of the Triple Crown. Instinctive, resourceful, and stubborn, Chenery hires a burned-out trainer (John Malkovich) to help turn the spirited colt into a champion. The period details are so exact they're occasionally distracting, the use of gospel music at the end is questionable, and director Randall Wallace (We Were Soldiers) shows a surer hand in the track sequences than the domestic scenes. Still, there's no denying this movie has heart.
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