The First Saturday in May


Mixed or average reviews - based on 15 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 7 out of 15
  2. Negative: 0 out of 15

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Critic Reviews

  1. The First Saturday in May soon digs in its heels with acute portraits of six trainers, including a paralyzed ex-cyclist in California and an MS-stricken Lexington native who works for the royal family of Dubai.
  2. 75
    "May" uses the quirks and well-worn traditions of horse racing as a vehicle to quietly explore idiosyncrasies of the human condition.
  3. Horse lovers and racing enthusiasts are this likable film's obvious audience, but you don't have to care about the Derby to get caught up in the stories of the people and the horses behind the two minutes of glory.
  4. 75
    For anyone with an interest in racing, "First Saturday" is a sure bet.
  5. 75
    A compelling look at the price paid by the men who devote their lives to these extraordinary animals.
  6. A look at lives and hopes that are part of our American culture.
  7. The directors have told the press that one of their goals was "to make horseracing -- a great sport that has gotten progressively less attention over the past 30 years -- cool again." The movie actually does this. It sure inspired me to make plans for Emerald Downs.
  8. 60
    First Saturday isn't exactly a winner, but it places.
  9. It's hardly a muckraking piece but more a celebration of racing at the high end and the extremely prosperous folks who play it.
  10. 60
    Picture successfully elaborates on the sorts of color pieces that traditionally precede the race on television.
  11. The result is a feeling of standing in an OTB with lots of races from lots of places--too many stories calling for attention--instead of the Kentucky Derby, which for two minutes each year focuses the sports world like a laser.
  12. Many questions occur to the viewer along the way but are never addressed by the filmmakers.
  13. 50
    Brothers Brad and John Hennegan track six thoroughbreds in the qualifying races running up to the 2006 Kentucky Derby, yet the horseflesh isn't as interesting to them as the owners and trainers, an odd assortment of moneymen and equine gurus with a culture all their own.
  14. 50
    Filmmakers Brad and John Hennegan follow six horses and their trainers through the arduous 2006 race season, building up to the Derby, but they are never able to find the balance between insider wonkery and genuine human (or animal) drama.
  15. There are a lot of horses but absolutely no sense in The First Saturday in May, a glib, lazy documentary about six trainers on the proverbial road to the 2006 Kentucky Derby.

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