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Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Director: Simon Curtis Studio: 20th Century Fox

Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

There were many films about auto-racing but there were many films that centered around the dog as the main character and the main focus on the films’ plot development and structure. The world also have 2008’s Marley and Me, 2017’s A Dog’s Purpose, which had a sequel released this year, and Hachi: A Dog's Tale. Not only it’s a dog movie but it’s also an auto-racing film. The film stars Milo Ventimiglia (NBC’s This is Us.), Amanda Seyfried (Veronica Mars) and Kevin Costner (1995’s Waterworld) as the voice of Enzo.

Based on the true story by author Garth Stein, this is one of the first films to be released by Fox after the acquisition of 20th Century Fox by Walt Disney Studios (after 2019’s Breakthrough and X-Men: Dark Phoenix). Simon Curtis decided to helm the film and to take full control of the plot, the characters, and the flow of the storyline along with the writers Patrick Dempsey, Tania Landau, Neal H. Moritz, and Mark Bomback who are conceiving the story.

The main story tells a tale about a dog named Enzo that was owned by an auto-racing driver Denny Swift and reflects about his lifetime and his relationship with his owner and his wife Eve Swift. Throughout his life and journey as a dog, he encounters a variety of exciting, but depressing adventures he has live up to its stake.

Comparing to the films Marley and Me and A Dog’s Purpose, Curtis had put some heavy duty on the man’s best friend stigma as part of the film’s main dynamics as well as putting the whole storyline about a man’s career and family life altogether. The director isn’t explaining the audience about balancing life between family and work, which becomes the climax of the film, but also tells the viewers that determination and perseverance are the rightful answers to the test. The chemistry between Milo Ventimiglia and Amanda Seyfried as a Denny and Eve seems to be an enjoyable view for the film as its own entertainment but also can be dealt with any situations when it involves family struggles.

However, the scenes involving the in-laws, portrayed by Kathy Baker and Martin Donovan, of the main character are not enjoyable as the main’s character relationship with the in-laws seems harder to watch as couple of scenes involving a struggling conflict with the in-laws put the low pressure for another focus of the plotline. And not to about forget about the zebra scene which sets for a darker tone with a heavy use of CGI for a kids’ movie and a dogs’ movie. The film doesn’t add up to its potential like the previous films I mentioned above but it really raise the stakes when it comes to focusing on your dreams and family as part of your lively balance and adulthood.

On the flip side, I would say the film is okay, but not as enjoyable as A Dog’s Purpose. As a movie critic, my expectations has gone lower but I wouldn’t say it’s a bad film. I have seen most studios and filmmakers want to produce a dog film that will end up receiving positive reviews, only to be backfired by movie critics despite how great and emotional these dog films are according to the audience. But over the top, I believed it’s a good movie to those who loved dogs, but it would be a hard pass and a hard decision if you want to take your dog out for a movie night.


(Review by Henry Pham)

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