The true story of the recordbreaking Secretariat is pretty stupendous as is. It didn't need schmaltzing up. But director Randall Wallace (The Man in the Iron Mask) chose to aggrandize everything surrounding the Triple Crown winner to worshipful proportions. The sentimentality ladled on thickly, however, undermines the impact of this underdog saga.
The deification even extends to the choice of musical selections. Oh Happy Day swells during a montage, then is reprised, with the volume cranked up to 11, when Secretariat wins a key race. During racing sequences, swelling music overpowers all, drowning out the potent sound of hooves.
When it comes to horse movies, Seabiscuit more effectively chronicled a champion Thoroughbred through the eyes of those who loved him as well as a larger sociopolitical lens. Here, those contextual elements are brushed aside or caricatured.
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