I don't disagree, but I don't like the critic's shrill tone in that review, at all.
For what it's worth my mom has collected several books throughout the years about Secretariat and horse racing in general that pretty much all reflect that very same nostalgic-for-the-50's, wealthy-white-snobbery, let's-ignore-THOSE-people attitudes. I mean, for fuck's sake, that WAS the world of Kentucky horse racing in the 60s and 70s. They were, for better or for worse, a little insular sheltered bubble of white privilege.
Not every horse racing story involves a Seabiscuitesque scrappy underdog, hell, MOST of them don't. And FFS, it's a DISNEY movie. What did the critic actually expect?
what I do kind of worry that Salon is being shrill and alarmist for the pure sake of being shrill and alarmist and you know, that is more of the same polarising, propagandist, lazy-thinking attitude that people like Glenn Beck et. al. operate on and I would argue that we as a populace just don't need more of it.
It's okay to point out that the movie comes from a smug, middle American wealthy privileged POV. It's okay to call it trite, shallow, formulaic, whatever. It. Is. A. Disney. Movie. But creepy? Really? It's honestly pretty accurate to the attitudes of people in that demographic, in those times, actually.
And, having hung around racetracks some as a kid, and having known some of the folks involved, I'm sorry, but the stereotypes portrayed; i.e. the "Joe Shucks" black groom? Um, they're historically accurate too. Sorry to break it to you. We kids watched jingoist cartoons full of violence back then, too. Does that make it wrong? Yes. Did it happen? Sure thing. Did my intellectual, liberal parents have discussions about the negative stereotypes and attitudes involved? OH HELL YES THEY DID.
This kind of thing, in fact, serves as a good example of a teaching moment: "that was how things were in 1973, and it's different from today, and here's why..."
I don't mean to excuse the movie's attitude or whatever. It's definitely okay to point out the part where portraying Sham's owner as "Teh Evil" isn't historically accurate, and probably invokes bias in a Bad Way. But honestly, this whole review strikes me as sort of the overwrought knee-jerk liberal equivalent to right-wing OMGTURRISTS! scare tactics.
And srsly, for the sake of storytelling, the director kind of has to pull conflict from somewhere. It doesn't make the movie very interesting to talk about a rich white woman with no actual enemies who lucked onto a Sure Thing, now, does it?