A rousing and heartwarming film, Diane Lane may get Disney the Best Actress Oscar.
Julian Roman - MovieWeb
Secretariat, a benignly inspirational Disney sports drama about the legendary racehorse who won the Triple Crown in 1973, offers a fascinating test case for how much spoilers sometimes don't matter.
Owen Gleiberman - Entertainment Weekly
It's a pleasurable, seductive fantasy partly because, as we have known from the start of cinema, the sight of a running horse is a beautiful thing.
Manohla Dargis - New York Times
The true story of the recordbreaking Secretariat is pretty stupendous as is. It didn't need schmaltzing up.
- USA Today
Director Randall Wallace has achieved the next to impossible, injecting genuine tension and suspense into a narrative we all know the ending to.
Ann Hornaday - Washington Post
The achievement of both the movie and what Lane does with the part is that it's all bait to write her off as a sufferer, a role that Lane, due to bad movies and the bad men in them, knows too well. Not this time.
Wesley Morris - Boston Globe
The formulaic race footage itself is vigorous; the schmaltzy mythmaking script, on the other hand, deserves a one-way trip to the glue factory.
Nick Schager - Village Voice
Randall Wallace's Secretariat knows which beats to hit: come-from-behind winner, historical setting, colorful characters -- check, check, check.
Joe Neumaier - New York Daily News
A family film about one of the fastest racehorses in history, Secretariat stumbles along beneath the weight of leaden life lessons.
Joe Morgenstern - Wall Street Journal
Just how much you enjoy Secretariat, Disney's glossy-coated biopic of the celebrated racehorse, depends in large part on how much you know of his career. If you know zilch, you'll be thrilled.
Amy Biancolli - Houston Chronicle
A finely constructed feel-good movie, gorgeous to look at, suspenseful when it's supposed to be and firmly in control of the sports movie archetypes and tropes that it wields like an experienced jockey using a riding crop.
Chris Vognar - Dallas Morning News
Secretariat earns its best accolades for asking even larger questions as it highlights the story not just of a terrific horse but of his greatest champion, owner Penny Chenery, portrayed with grace, edge and a growing sense of self by Diane Lane.
Lisa Kennedy - Denver Post
Unimaginatively directed by Randall Wallace, Secretariat often visibly strains to avoid painful or messy reality...
Kathleen Murphy - MSN Movies
It is a great film about greatness, the story of the horse and the no less brave woman who had faith in him.
Roger Ebert - Chicago Sun-Times
Secretariat isn't bad but it's precisely what you'd expect.
Michael Phillips - Chicago Tribune
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.
Andrea Gronvall - Chicago Reader
Wallace is a director of moments, not of cohesive wholes. His movie is a parade of confrontations punctuated by a thrilling race.
Carrie Rickey - Philadelphia Inquirer
Secretariat is a winner, but only by a few lengths.
Tom Long - Detroit News
Secretariat is a traditional, by-the-numbers feel-good movie that's likely to leave you cheering in the end anyway, even though you know what's coming.
Bill Goodykoontz - Arizona Republic
I'm a sucker for this kind of stuff, and there is plenty of it in Secretariat. This is one terrific movie about one terrific horse.
Rex Reed - New York Observer
This conventional but rousingly effective picture pulls through its occasional faltering stretches by focusing on the essentials of its incredible real-life saga, even if the details have been massaged for maximum uplift.
Justin Chang - Variety
Secretariat" ultimately delivers where it matters, in the home stretch.
Lou Lumenick - New York Post
The film seeks to honor the memory of the great racehorse, and it largely succeeds.
Laremy Legel - Film.com
When the movie climactically reproduces that exhilarating Belmont, the fiction is just a pale shadow of the fact, and the realized myth that lives in our memory dies on the screen.
Rick Groen - Globe and Mail
The welcoming glow that imbues every corner of this nostalgic horse-racing yarn with rich, lambent color comes from within, as if the movie itself is ablaze with its own crazy sense of purpose.
Andrew O'Hehir - Salon.com
My advice: If you're looking for a nostalgic, inspirational horse-race biopic that doesn't isolate itself completely from economic, historical, and racial reality, go rent Seabiscuit.
Dana Stevens - Slate
The racing sequences are effectively done and Secretariat's quest for horse racing's Triple Crown concludes with one of those stand-up-and-cheer moments, but the story as a whole seems stale and overly familiar.
James Berardinelli - ReelViews
An engaging sports movie about the greatest racehorse ever and his female owner who literally bets the farm on his supremacy.
Kirk Honeycutt - Hollywood Reporter
Anyone remotely familiar with the story of Secretariat knows the outcome before the movie begins, but that Belmont climax still is intoxicating to watch.
David Germain - Associated Press
This is an undeniably well-crafted genre piece.
Mary F. Pols - TIME Magazine
Don't fret when the film gets stuck in stodgy mud. Just bask in the glory that was Secretariat, and watch that horse ride.
Peter Travers - Rolling Stone
Predictable but thoroughly entertaining and largely accurate story of the greatest racehorse of all time.
Richard Roeper - Richard Roeper.com
With a film like this, moments of emotion-run-amok excessiveness are inevitable, but a trio of interlocking factors keep the winces at a minimum and stop the film from going too far off the rails.
Kenneth Turan - Los Angeles Times
a safe, enjoyable movie that can be watched by yourself, on a date or at your mother's house after Sunday dinner
Kevin Carr - 7M Pictures
It teeters between pleasantly generic film biography and rank manipulation.
Roger Moore - Movie Nation
Brent Simon - Shared Darkness
- Digital Spy
You could go see this just to enjoy the production design.
Dave White - Movies.com
Diane Lane delivers one of the finest performances of her career.
Roger Tennis - Cinemaclips.com
Secretariat is cliched, unrealistic and predictable, but it will make you feel good
Mike Edwards - What Culture
This horse-sports-opera boasts all the ingredients for a successful run.
James Croot - Flicks.co.nz
Celebrates greatness on four legs with a decent--if not record-breaking--amount of light entertainment. What're the odds?
Jules Brenner - Cinema Signals
Easily as good of a film as "Seabiscuit," and family-friendly.
James Plath - Movie Metropolis
Let down by a shallow, bland treatment and characters that feign depth and go nowhere. In this category, it is still 'Seabiscuit' by a mile.
Bruce Bennett - Spectrum (St. George, Utah)
A heavily contrived and overlong account of the greatest US horse in racing history, Disney's Secretariat still has a lot going for it as an old-fashioned family drama.
Graham Young - Birmingham Post
Secretariat is a good-natured but thunderingly cliched triumph-against-the-odds tale, almost every line a cornball aphorism about following your heart.
Henry Fitzherbert - Daily Express
Like Secretariat himself, the film is a glossy, big-hearted slow- starter, but lacks his ability to power home ahead of the competition.
Kate Stables - Total Film
I'm sick of the simpering American morons who lap up this rubbish.
Robbie Collin - News of the World
With its linear structure, nostalgic glow and distinct lack of surprises, Secretariat seems to have wandered into cinemas after leaving its TV movie hitching post.
David Edwards - Daily Mirror [UK]
Despite a decent performance from Lane as the homespun trainer, Secretariat is more blind alley than Blind Side.
Eve Barlow - Empire Magazine
This tale of wealth, horse-breeding and good old Christian faith is just about as hammy as a study of commodified horse sex can be.
Nell Frizzell - Little White Lies
Secretariat's story still feels untold.
Karen Krizanovich - Radio Times
Don't put money on it.
Elliott Noble - Sky Movies
Just when we thought John Malkovich didn't have another semi-intentionally deranged performance left in him, he has come storming back with another uproarious turn...
I think this is one of the year's most enjoyable family films.
Christopher Tookey - Daily Mail [UK]
Bum-numbingly long bore that has a worrying number of talented actors seemingly involved for a cheque. Watch a film about dinosaurs instead; much more fun.
Limara Salt - Film4
This horsey, 1970s-set Disney film doesn't boast the most imaginative script and is too long and businesslike for youngsters -- yet it still produces a lump in the throat.
Derek Adams - Time Out
Disappointing, frequently dull racehorse drama that's let down by poorly written characters, a thinly stretched plot, a painful lack of dramatic tension and a cliche-heavy script.
Matthew Turner - ViewLondon
The old-fashioned Secretariat is surely one of the feel-good movies of the year.
Richard Knight - Knight at the Movies
Never convinces that this was a horse or owner who epitomized a time and so captivated an era. The against-all-odds cliches get slathered on, the races stumble, and the flick's further hobbled by all its pure emotions and heartstring-plucking.
Brian Gibson - Vue Weekly (Edmonton, Canada)
Yes, it's a good, solid movie about a horse that no one expected to win.
Linda Cook - KWQC-TV (Iowa)
Penny Chenery's story is good stuff. It's just that watching it, one can't escape the nagging feeling that it's not the most compelling part of the (Secretariat) story.
Mike Scott - Times-Picayune
Secretariat is as sturdy and dependable as the stud it's named after. Plus, the ever-lovely Diane Lane!
Corey Hall - Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Screenwriter Mike Rich and director Randall Wallace somehow whip this fruit salad of tragedy and triumph and predictability and profound corniness into something wonderful and amazing and the best kind of Hollywood feel-good.
MaryAnn Johanson - Flick Filosopher
... you will believe a horse can act.
Jim Lane - Sacramento News & Review
Secretariat is basically an amiable crowd pleaser. It's a good film about a great horse.
Elias Savada - Film Threat
This powerful film grabbed me from the beginning and carried me through to the end and wrung me out emotionally along the way.
Robert Roten - Laramie Movie Scope
If you like sweet, safe tales of triumph, Secretariat is a sure bet. But if you like films with a bit more tension and complexity, this romp doesn't completely satisfy.
Camerin Courtney - Christianity Today
...oldstyle Hollywood, family entertainment done at a very high level. It doesn't lay out all the facts and complications, but it's a very honest movie.
Philip Martin - Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Despite the Disney-fied, sentimental side of the story, 'Secretariat' hits the finish line as an effective tale about an amazing equine athlete
Lori Hoffman - Atlantic City Weekly
Well-crafted, shamelessly -- and obviously -- manipulative fantasyland stuff, passing itself off as a 'true story,' when, in fact, it's what we call 'fact-based.
Ken Hanke - Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)
Watching Secretariat is an experience as antithetical to watching an actual horse race as it gets.
Simon Abrams - Slant Magazine
Schmaltzy, uneven and contrived [despite] thrilling horse-racing scenes and John Malkovich's hilarious performance as an eccentric trainer who walked right out of a Christopher Guest movie.
Avi Offer - NYC Movie Guru
The horse's story entertains but it would have been nice to have more of the owner's personal life explored
Jackie K. Cooper - jackiekcooper.com
Tim Brayton - Antagony & Ecstasy
The horse racing in the film is wonderful. It was shown from the horse's perspective...but I'm not sure the Oscar buzz is appropriate here.
Jenna Busch - Huffington Post
Secretariat rides to the Winner's Circle.
Charles Koplinski - Illinois Times
Strictly a movie for those who bet chalk.
Dennis Schwartz - Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Like most Disney features, it is an inspirational event that will touch everyone.
Frank Wilkins - Frank's Reel Reviews
It's not about a horse, it's jockey, or it's trainer. It's about a horse owner. Instead of honoring the greatest race horse ever, they try to find an underdog story with Diane Lane's help.
Jeff Bayer - The Scorecard Review
Excitement mounts with every hoof beat in 'Secretariat,' a real crowd pleaser.
Betty Jo Tucker - ReelTalk Movie Reviews
Paul Younger - ScreenRant
A weak mediocrity that inspires no strong feelings one way or the other.
Eric D. Snider - Cinematical
A throwback to an era where Disney churned these things out by the dozen, you?ll cheer, you?ll laugh, and wish you?d brought a hanky. There is, however, no photo finish.
Gary Wolcott - Tri-City Herald
An inspirational true story that oozes with so much inspiration, its overwhelming optimism becomes annoying and embarrassing.
Christopher Smith - Bangor Daily News (Maine)
Until the Sports Illustrated subscription runs out at the Walt Disney Studios offices, I expect audiences will continue to be privy to cookie-cutter yarns centered around notable achievements in the sports world.
Matt Brunson - Creative Loafing
Director Randall Wallace manages to bring in enough winning moments to make it worth an afternoon's viewing.
Jeffrey M. Anderson - Combustible Celluloid
If ever a film recreated the experience of visiting an OTB ? where you watch races on TV from far away, people are dressed poorly and it?s quite stinky ? then Secretariat is a resounding success.
Erik Childress - eFilmCritic.com
So intent on being inspiring that it forgets nearly everything else, including story and character.
Eric D. Snider - EricDSnider.com
Scarcely a scene goes by where Penny's savvy, grace, and generosity aren't explicitly cited by some character or another, often in the process of apologizing for not recognizing her visionary brilliance in the first place.
Adam Nayman - eye WEEKLY
Diane Lane borrows Sandra Bullock's blond wigs and can-do attitude for Secretariat, a horse movie that feels like a lazy workout rather than a high-stakes race. Secretariat is a strenuously feel-good flick that could be subtitled The Blinders Side.
Steve Persall - Tampa Bay Times
You'll cry like a baby, even though you know how it ends.
Willie Waffle - WaffleMovies.com
Director Randall Wallace and writer Mike Rich steep the story in sappy sentimentality and some hamfisted nods to the era?s turbulent politics.
Sean Means - Salt Lake Tribune
Lane + Malkovich + Secretariat is 2010's triple crown.
Tony Medley - Tolucan Times
Very much a rousing, indomitable-human-spirit kind of story, except that by some miracle, most of the saccharine was left out of the recipe. The end result is a movie everyone will enjoy.
Liz Braun - Jam! Movies
For those looking to, or through, Secretariat for a deeper, more sinister meaning, all I can say is, there are worse places to look for God than in the nostril of a great horse.
Stephanie Zacharek - Movieline
The film's formulaic nature was ultimately saved by Randall Wallace's stunning horse racing sequences. Even though we know the ending, I still found myself cheering.
Kevin McCarthy - BDK Reviews
The great John Malkovich is a hoot as Secretariat's trainer. How did he ever get into a Disney movie?
Clint O'Connor - Cleveland Plain Dealer
The racing scenes, easily the best thing in this otherwise uninspired piece of inspirationalism, come as a distinct relief.
Peter Rainer - Christian Science Monitor
This is a rousingly entertaining and robustly acted movie with electrifying horse-racing sequences filmed from the jockey's perspective. Now, how cool is that?
Randy Myers - Contra Costa Times
Chenery is the main character, and as hard as Lane works (and as lovely as she looks in her '70s separates), Chenery just isn't a very interesting person.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul) - St. Paul Pioneer Press
Inspiring true story about an amazing woman and her horse.
Sandie Angulo Chen - Common Sense Media
Neither winner nor loser, Secretariat settles for a polished mediocrity.
John Wirt - Advocate (Baton Rouge, LA)
A solid, old-fashioned movie, at least until the overkill reprise of 'Oh Happy Day': I don't think the Edwin Hawkins Singers proclaiming that Jesus has washed their sins away has much to do with one horse beating the hooves off several others.
John Beifuss - Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)
Even with the wooden acting and a horsepucky script that stops short of the finish line, once the horses take the reins, it's a thrilling ride.
Kimberly Gadette - Indie Movies Online
(To the tune of "Mister Ed":) We?ve had us a film about a horse./Seabiscuit got Oscar nods, of course./So another race horse on us they?ll force: Secretariat!
Peter Canavese - Groucho Reviews
The close-ups of the jockeys and horses in the starting gates, with the nervous pawing of the hooves, is thrilling enough to get even the most jaded moviegoer's attention.
Jeanne Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
There are two groups of moviegoers that will appreciate the dramatics of this great equine athlete: the over 50 crowd who lived through those exciting times, and those under 50 for whom this movie is an historical piece.
David Kaplan - Kaplan vs. Kaplan
It may not break any new ground in the well-worn, horse racing movie genre, but this thrilling and inspiring entertainment about the legendary, 1973 Triple Crown winning horse should have audiences standing up and cheering.
Pete Hammond - Boxoffice Magazine
Lined with fetid chunks of Oscar bait like so many droppings in an untended stable
Thomas Leupp - Hollywood.com
When the movie?s over, it?s hard not to be more amazed that Secretariat fathered 600 foals. That?s stamina!
Matt Pais - Metromix.com
Far from substantial, spending far too much time playing up the horse?s mystique (cue slow motion and thunderclaps), and not enough on the gritty particulars of the human characters. It?s rarely dull, but consistently baffling.
Brian Orndorf - BrianOrndorf.com
I should know better. But it got to me, mostly because of the way the races are shot ? and because of the heartfelt and mostly underplayed performances by the film?s stars.
Marshall Fine - Hollywood & Fine
Instead of feeling good, it just feels hollow.
Josh Bell - Las Vegas Weekly
Even though the outcomes of the races run by Secretariat are history, you still will cheer this magnificent animal and his extraordinary owner.
Bob Bloom - Journal and Courier (Lafayette, IN)
The real Secretariat had a heart twice as big as a normal horse's, and Secretariat the film has a lot more heart and soul to it than most 'feel-good' family films.
Rebecca Murray - About.com
An okay but rather obvious and, natch, predictable period sports drama. (Parental Review also Available)
Jim Judy - Screen It!
The true-life account of the "world's greatest racehorse" deserves better than this bland adaptation from the Disney factory.
Matt Stevens - E! Online
"Secretariat" is a glorious throwback to the days when inspiring family fare often came from such studios as "Secretariat" source Disney.
James Verniere - Boston Herald
Proves all the more insane that it equates Secretariat to a Jesus Christ-like messiah.
This one's all about the horse -- and he's a winner.
Moira MacDonald - Seattle Times
An unabashed crowd-pleaser of the old school...calculated and manipulative. But it does its job skillfully.
Frank Swietek - One Guy's Opinion
What a pleasure to see the exquisite Diane Lane in a role worthy of her talent and beauty. In this movie, she is the champion who gets to run the race she was born for.
Nell Minow - Beliefnet
The actors and the film's genial nature help it go down fairly easy. The racing scenes are well-shot and surprisingly thrilling, given the preordained outcome.
Mike Russell - Oregonian
Too often bludgeons us over the head with its inspirational quotables, burying the story?s organic goodwill under a pile of Hollywood horse manure.
Sean O'Connell - Reelrave
a 2010 Disney tent-pole release that feels more like a 1965 Disney tent-pole release, but within its very specific trappings, it is a crowd-pleasing success.
Jason McKiernan - Filmcritic.com
It?s not a particularly great film, but by recognizing its own limits, Secretariat never tries to be more than a feel-good movie, and it's better because of it.
Jason Zingale - Bullz-Eye.com
The Disney feel that makes it safe for the whole family also probably robs it of some of the more complex shading ... But considering how rare intelligent family-friendly movies are, it's a worthy sacrifice.
Cathy Jakicic - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
"It?s like trying to make a football movie set in the 1970s about this plucky little underdog team called the Dallas Cowboys."
Rob Thomas - Wisconsin State Journal
I looked forward to it because I like Diane Lane, but about halfway through Secretariat, I realized that as much as I like her, I really don't like watching her run a horse farm.
Gary Thompson - Philadelphia Daily News
There's adversity, triumph, and lessons learned on the way to a happy ending. And upbeat scenes set to stirring, era-appropriate songs? Do you even have to ask?
Keith Phipps - AV Club
Aside from the inherent thrill of the races themselves, the new equine biopic Secretariat is dull stuff.
Robert W. Butler - Kansas City Star
Terrific supporting performances bolster Lane's star turn, and some audiences will cheer in their theatre seats as though they were at the track, but Secretariat is ultimately a conventional story, conventionally told.
Marjorie Baumgarten - Austin Chronicle
Not exactly a beast biopic about sex and DNA or a National Geographic reproductive romance, but certainly about studs, Secretariat doesn't horse around when inferring that mares matter most, whether of the steed or human variety.
Prairie Miller - NewsBlaze
A movie that?s just a little bit too slick for its own good, where all the pieces fit together with premanufactured precision. Still, when that horse starts to run, we can?t help cheering.
Christopher Lloyd - Sarasota Herald-Tribune
Secretariat isn't as gritty as it should have been, but it sure is happy.
Jeffrey Gantz - Boston Phoenix
A cheesy, square, emotional button-pusher that often feels like a Disney movie from the era it's set in -- and that old-fashioned appeal actually works in its favor.
Geoff Berkshire - Metromix.com
A family entertainment that the Brady Bunch would have enjoyed (if not actually starred in), Disney's real-life horse story, about the 1973 Triple Crown winner, is a solid shot straight up the middle.
Joshua Rothkopf - Time Out
Secretariat all but ignores the horse it?s named after in favor of telling the tedious, mostly irrelevant story of his owner.
Joshua Tyler - CinemaBlend.com
A wonderful family film about the greatest race horse who ever lived that gets out of the gate quickly and impresses with its big heart and idiosyncratic characters.
Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat - Spirituality and Practice
As satisfying as it is stimulating, 'Secretariat' will make you stand up and cheer.
Susan Granger - www.susangranger.com
Diane Lane shines as the horse's owner.
Harvey S. Karten - Compuserve
As formulaic as it is, solid family films like "Secretariat" are few and far between.
Cole Smithey - ColeSmithey.com
Based on the true story of a stubbornly committed housewife and her race horse, Secretariat is an overly explicit, extremely old-fashioned inspirational tale, elevated from the routine by Diane Lane's compelling lead and Malkovich's eccentric turn.
Emanuel Levy - EmanuelLevy.Com
A bland horse tale enlivened only by Diane Lane's committed star turn and a wily supporting performance by John Malkovich.
Ethan Alter - Film Journal International