Family Movie Night

A few weeks ago, someone told me I needed to see Secretariat (2010).

Finally, I did and I really liked it.

Diane Lane in "Secretariat," image from

The movie follows Penny Chenry Tweedy (Diane Lane) as she takes over her father’s farm after the death of her mother. But a mare gives birth to a foal that is unlike any other horse. Suddenly Tweedy’s life is absorbed by this horse and his potential.

Once Red starts racing, a light bulb goes off, sparks flies, the horse runs like none other. At the same time Tweedy is missing out on her kids’ events and her husband wonders if she even wants to be married. But with a new-to-her trainer and a jockey who knows how to handle horses that like to run as fast as possible, suddenly Tweedy realizes she has a chance to win it all.

It starts at the Kentucky Derby on the first weekend of May. It is a day of big hats, big drama and a race that goes over one and a quarter mile of track.

This weekend is another day at Churchill Downs. Celebrate it by having a horse movie festival.

For the youngest members of the family, you could always go with the My Little Pony movies.

Another suggestion for the younger members is National Velvet (1947) starring Mickey Rooney and Elizabeth Taylor as a young girl who knows she has to ride a horse to win a big race. This is a good introduction to Taylor and the energetic Rooney.

Andrew Knott in "Black Beauty," Image from

For pre-teens, there is Black Beauty (1994), a story of one horse’s life and Flicka (2006) starring Alison Lohman as a girl who tames a wild horse. Based on books popular in the young adult genre, these movies connect us with the animals by how people interact with them.

If you are looking for a longer movie about horses, my favorite one from recent years is Seabiscuit (2003). The movie stars Jeff Bridges as a man who has lived through the worst a father can live through. As he picks up the pieces of his life, he starts racing horses. And one of his horses is incredible but moody. This horse runs every race in California and is incredible.

Foriegn movie poster for "Seabiscuit," image from

The story takes place during the Depression and a horse with a good pedigree but small in stature winning these races is a boost to the spirit. The movie is beautifully shot and tells a good story. It may not the complete story and the characters are not really as shining as we would like them to be. But this Hollywood version had me crying my eyes out over the solid performances put in by Bridges, Chris Cooper, Tobey McGuire and Elizabeth Banks. 

Until next week, see you in the rental aisle.

Let the world know about your latest pick for Family Movie Night and drop a note below.