Dan Skip Allen
The Art of Racing in the Rain Review
Movies featuring talking dogs aren’t particularly new to Hollywood. Movies with a dog’s stream of consciousness have become a thing lately. We’ve gotten two A Dog’s Journey films and A Dog’s Purpose film the last couple years. Usually while getting big name stars to voice them. The Art of Racing In the Rain might arguably have one of the biggest movie stars of the last forty years voicing this dog. Along with a big TV star from This Is Us starring in it.
Milo Ventamiglia, portrays Denny Swift, an aspiring race car driver. Part time mechanic part time driving instructor. He sees a sign on the side of the road and on a whim, stops by a house selling golden retriever puppies and buys one. He names it Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner) after the famous race car owner. Costner was a very surprising choice to voice a dog, but I guess they were going for a more serious tone. At first site Denny and Enzi are in love and they make perfect companions. That is until Eve, portrayed by Amanda Seyfried, comes into Denny’s life and Enzo is put on the back burner. Eventually Eve and Enzo come to an understanding and they become friends. Denny’s away a lot racing so they keep each other company.
The Art of Racing in the Rain has a lot of heavy lifting to do. Dealing with some sad moments as well as dramatic tension between Eve’s parents and Denny. Enzo narrates a lot of this for the audience, which is the perfect device to help move the plot forward. Despite some scenes filled with somberness, the film also has its fair share of some comedic moments to help balance out the overall tone. There is a running gag involving a zebra that keeps things light hearted at times. It’s Enzo and Denny that we as an audience are most invested in and they keep our interest throughout the film. No matter what happens, good or bad, we know they are always going to be there for each other. They anchor the film and give it a grounded feeling we all can relate to. We’ve all owned a dog right? We all have been worried about our animals at some point and whether we realize it or not, our animals are also worried about us.
The Art of Racing in the Rain has a title referring to racing because Denny is a race car driver, but it isn’t really about racing. Its just a device to keep the story moving forward. The relationship between Denny and Enzo was why I cared so much for these characters. Their love for one another meant something to me. I had that love for my dog Buddy before she died a few years ago. I know what that feeling is like. I definitely had a few tears fall during the course of this film and each tear was well earned.
I really enjoyed The Art of Racing in the Rain. It is a heartwarming story we all can relate to. If you are a dog owner, you will love this film as well. Simon Curtis really tugs at the heart strings like he has done with his previous films My Week With Marilyn and Woman in Gold. If you’re looking for a heartwarming feel good film this summer, look no further then The Art of Racing in the Rain.
Dan Skip Allen