If you are in a funk over the current state of political and economic affairs, you will come away feeling better after seeing Secretariat.
In 1977, things were similarly gloomy. The misery index under President Jimmy Carter reflected the mood of many Americans. The president would come to speak of an America that had seen its best days and he told us we were going to have to cut back on everything, including our vision of a greater America.
Along came a big Broadway musical that year called Annie. It touched the country’s unique chord of optimism and promised “the sun’ll come out tomorrow.” Most who saw it came away believing that the sun would, in fact, come out again and that things would eventually get better.
Now we are in the midst of another national funk and there is a new cultural rescue boat coming just in time to save us from the flood of our current depression. It is a film called Secretariat and it is far more than entertainment; it is the artistic equivalent of a caffeine jolt, a Red Bull for the spirit.
The story of the 1973 Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing winner, Secretariat is The Blind Side meets Chariots of Fire meets National Velvet. It is Annie on four legs. It is not only a story about a powerful thoroughbred, but also the story of Penny Chenery (played magnificently by Diane Lane with a strong supporting cast led by the hilarious John Malkovich).