Note: This is a spoiler-free The Art Of Racing In The Rain movie review
Nothing in Hollywood is more redeeming than a good ending. It has the capability to make you forget the last 100 minutes of your life and walk away with a feeling that it was all worth it.
The end of a movie about a dog who loves Indycar racing comes close to doing just that, believe it or not.
The Art of Racing In The Rain is an emotional ride rooted in a variety of relationships and how important they can be.
A Downtrodden Drive
More specifically, the movie depicts a loss of relationships, a relationship with loss itself, and the resiliency a person can show as a result. In this case our resilient protagonist is Denny (Milo Ventimiglia), a racecar driver chasing his dream while simultaneously trying to make his life work. Always by his side is his faithful, four-legged companion Enzo (Kevin Costner), who tells us the story through his eyes.
Denny takes hit after hit, but through it all, he continues to press the gas and move forward. In fact, The Art of Racing In The Rain is probably tearjerking for too many scenes in a row, and there’s a portion in the middle where you just need something positive to happen. Playing to emotion is one thing. This is coming from all different angles and back-to-back.
Right as you’re ready to give up on Denny, Enzo, and the family the movie does lighten up, and it’s as much a relief as it is plot development. This tone is what makes the end so powerful, it’s just a difficult watch at times.
A Ferarri of A Furry Friend
The strongest connection The Art of Racing In The Rain makes with the audience is how great the film is for dog owners and dog lovers alike. Enzo is the narrator, but he’s also the heart of the movie.
Costner’s performance falls flat, as he seems more bored than anything else playing the role of a dog breaking the fourth wall. The casting could have been better, but you’re able to see past it and get the spirit of Enzo.
Enzo brings lightness to the movie between the heavy scenes, which mirrors his role in Denny’s life. We are experiencing what Denny is on screen, but also getting the moments of comfort and joy through the eyes of a dog. Enzo is guiding us through the movie as he guides Denny in their journey together. His owner and family are his only priority, and he’ll do whatever it takes to protect them.
All that leads to some old fashioned good doggo moments. Enzo possesses a lot of very human thoughts, but he’s still a dog on the outside. This guy knows in his heart he’s always doing the right thing. It just doesn’t always come across that way. The result is your moments of levity as he fights a zebra, tears into some papers, or eats a pepper.
It’s almost too easy to see your own dog in the actions and thoughts of Enzo throughout Racing In The Rain. That fact makes the movie relatable, and it’s the main reason to watch.
Strong In The Sidecar
Enzo and Denny are your main men, but a few secondary characters play a vital role in the development of Racing In The Rain.
First is Denny’s wife, Eve (Amanda Seyfried). Denny questions pursuing his passion multiple times in the movie, as he continues to get knocked down. Eve serves as his backbone, always urging him to keep driving even when they aren’t together. Her push makes him a better husband, father, and driver. Enzo struggles with Eve at first, but they develop the strongest of bonds as she shows her true self. The power of a strong family relationship is on display, and Seyfried brings strength to the screen in her performance.
This movie also doesn’t work without a quality antagonist. Denny’s father-in-law (Martin Donovan) takes on that role, and he is truly unlikeable. Enzo can see it right away, and a dog’s instincts are never wrong. The man is slimy and holier-than-thou in his approach; essentially everything Denny is not. The dichotomy of the two makes it easy to pick sides in their battle throughout the movie.
Should I Go See The Art Of Racing In The Rain?
This movie is all about the ending. It’s powerful, and there won’t be a dry eye in the house. That said, the rest of the movie is kind of a bummer and the heavy outweighs the light too much. You can wait for this one to come out on TV, when you can watch it with a pint of ice cream.
(Featured Image courtesy of EPK)