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Secretariat Review Critics


Dave White Profile

Kudos to you, rich white lady with the superhorse. Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

Horses for Jesus! Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 30

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    Secretariat stumbles along beneath the weight of leaden life lessons. They're dispensed at frequent intervals by Diane Lane, who does better than anyone had a right to expect, since she is saddled with dialogue of exceptional dreadfulness.

    Read Full Review

  • 63

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    The true story of the recordbreaking Secretariat is pretty stupendous as is. It didn't need schmaltzing up.

    Read Full Review

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    This pleasantly rote movie will rouse you.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Kirk Honeycutt

    An engaging sports movie about the greatest racehorse ever and his female owner who literally bets the farm on his supremacy.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Secretariat reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 8+

Inspiring true story about an amazing woman and her horse.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this 1970s-set biopic about Penny Chenery (Diane Lane) and her extraordinary horse, Secretariat, has very little content that's inappropriate for kids, although very young viewers probably won't be too excited about a horse movie in which the horse doesn't talk. It deals with sexism in the horse-breeding community and a woman's "place" in the business sphere in the early 1970s, but the language is still rather mild (mostly just stuff like "housewife" used derisively, for example). Penny is a fantastic role model for kids -- particularly young women -- and the story is uplifting and educational for families.

  • Families can talk about the message that everyone has to "run their own race." What was Penny's race, and how was it different than her brother's?
  • How was Penny treated differently because she was a woman? Why was she referred to as a "little lady" and "housewife" so often?
  • What's the movie's message about balancing work and family? It was at times quite difficult for Penny to be away from her husband and children -- was it worth it?

The good stuff
  • educationalvalue true2

    Educational value: Kids will learn about the inner workings of thoroughbred horse racing -- from how an owner, trainer, and groom work together to get a horse ready to race at two years old to how the parentage of that horse is important and how rare it is to win a Triple Crown. In addition to all of the historical information about Secretariat, children will also learn how difficult it was for Penny, a woman, to enter the "gentlemen's club" of horse racing.

  • message true4

    Messages: The overwhelming message is that everyone should take the risk to "run their own race," no matter how unlikely it seems at first that you'll win. Penny's unwavering belief in Secretariat and her ability to know which people she should ask for help show that with enough guidance, training, practice, and focus, you can achieve your goals.

  • rolemodels true4

    Role models: Penny is an exemplary woman and a fantastic role model. She balances her responsibilities as a mother, wife, and daughter with great delicacy and concern, always trying to do what's best for her entire family, even when it means being temporarily separated from her children. She follows her heart to save her family's farm and is a pioneering woman in the horse-breeding and racing world. She's the only woman owner highlighted in the film.

What to watch for
  • violence false0

    Violence and scariness: Some young viewers may be disturbed by the deaths of Penny's parents.

  • sex false0

    Sexy stuff: Not an issue

  • language false2

    Language: Infrequent use of "hell," "crap," and "damn." A character says something in French that, according to another character, is something that would probably get him slapped by his mother, but the words aren't translated. Penny is occasionally referred to derisively as a "housewife," "little girl," "little lady," etc. by sexist-sounding men. In one instance, her "woman's intuition" is mocked by a rival horse owner.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not an issue

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false1

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Adults at a party drink champagne.