Caroline Friday

Caroline Friday is a novelist and award winning screenwriter with several film projects in development for both television and theatrical distribution. She is also a 2008 Kairos Screenwriting Winner for spiritually uplifting screenplays, sponsored by the John Templeton Foundation. Caroline currently serves as EVP of Sixth Day Media, LLC, a film finance and production company headquartered in the Atlanta area. She lives in Marietta, Georgia, with her husband and three children and can be found at


SecretariatGet to the theater as soon as you can to see this wonderful, heart-warming story about a middle-class housewife in 1970s America who finds her passion in life through the famous Triple Crown winning thoroughbred named Secretariat.

Diane Lane gives a terrific performance as Penny Chenery, who inherits her family horse farm after her father’s death. Loaded with debt, the farm is at risk of being lost to estate taxes, but Penny refuses to give up on her father’s dream. Fortunately for her, when a vibrant, chestnut- colored, thoroughbred foal is born to one of the farm’s most valuable mares, things quickly change. Penny sees the potential in this young stallion and pushes him onto the racing scene. She convinces Lucien Laurin, a reputable but down-and-out horse trainer, marvelously played by John Malcovich, to take on the task of training Big Red (or just Red), as the horse was originally called, and prepare him for racing history.

At every turn, Penney is met with obstacles—mainly people—who remind her that she is a woman with no knowledge of the intricate horse-racing business. But acting on intuition and a basic “gut knowledge,” she perseveres through an overbearing brother who insists that she sell the farm, a demanding husband who wants her back in the kitchen ironing his shirts, two children who live according to their own selfish desires, and the entire horse-racing community who writes her off as misguided and naïve.

I loved that the movie started and ended with Scripture and had a touching scene where Jesus is referenced in the lyrics of “O Happy Day.” Even though God was not mentioned per se, there were constant, steady reminders that the Almighty’s hand was at work in the lives of Penny and Red. Throughout the story, there is a persistence and tenacity to both of their personalities that drive the drama. As much as Penny refuses to give up on

Red, he likewise will not give up on her. Their unique, spiritual connection grabs at the heart-strings—it’s as though the horse somehow knows it isn’t really him running these races, but Penny, who is running her own special race. He runs for her, because she believes in him when no one else does. And she fights for Red in the same way, pushing him forward, giving him encouragement, and seeing him through to the Triple Crown win at the Belmont Stakes, setting new race records that still stand today.

Diane Lane is in every scene and carries the movie with poise, grace, beauty, and exquisite expressions that surpass the best dialogue from any A-list screenwriter. I look forward to seeing every family-friendly movie she is in. John Malcovich, on the other hand, adds a flash of bizarre quirkiness common to all of his movies, reaffirming his position at the top of my “favorite Hollywood actor” list.

The combination of the story, acting, music, cinematography, and racing drama all added immensely to the movie and kept me on the edge of my seat. Even though I knew Red’s legacy and that he would triumph as the reigning Triple Crown winner, it was Penny’s inner journey and Red’s unlikely rise to racing stardom that intrigued and entertained.

I was also touched that the movie is produced by Disney, harkening back to my youth when Mickey and his friends were instrumental in screening timeless family classics that my children love to this day. I know Walt would be pleased if he could see this film. I pray Secretariat is just the beginning of a shift within the Wonderful World of Disney to make more family-friendly, live-action dramas that every age can enjoy.

Make sure you get to the theaters soon before this one passes on to the land of dollar theaters and DVDs. And tell all of your friends too. Let’s communicate to the Hollywood community that movies like Secretariat are what we Christians are willing to support at the local box office.