Secretariat: Tea Party Myth or Feel-Good Flick?

Most critics enjoy the film, but one calls it 'creepy'
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 8, 2010 11:59 AM CDT

(Newser) Secretariat, Disney’s latest feel-good offering, opened to decent reviews—but there’s at least one critic who thinks the heartwarming story of the 1973 Triple Crown winner is actually a Tea Party myth in disguise. Read on for more:

  • Andrew O’Hehir admits Secretariat is a “gorgeous film” that he “enjoyed immensely”—but that doesn’t stop him from declaring it, on Salon, “a work of creepy, half-hilarious master-race propaganda almost worthy of Leni Riefenstahl” that presents “a honey-dipped fantasy vision of the American past as the Tea Party would like to imagine it, loaded with uplift and glory and scrubbed clean of multiculturalism and social discord.”

  • Roger Ebert begs to differ, writing on his blog that O’Hehir’s review is “a fevered conspiracy theory” and noting, “I am a liberal who has found more than his share of the Dark Side in seemingly innocent films. But in my naïveté I attended Secretariat and saw a straightforward, lovingly crafted film about a great horse and the determined woman who backed him.” (Ebert’s own review in the Chicago Sun-Times is a glowing four stars.) To see O’Hehir’s response to Ebert’s response, click here.
  • Most other critics seemed to like the film, including Justin Chang, who writes that it is “conventional but rousingly effective” in Variety, and Rex Reed who writes in the New York Observer, “This is one terrific movie about one terrific horse. It enthralls on so many levels—emotional, cinematic, historic.”

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