The Art of Racing in the Rain finishes off the trilogy of dog movies we’ve gotten this year (4 if you consider The Secret Life of Pets 2 as an entry). What a funny little trend! I wonder why man’s best friend was particularly on Hollywood’s mind in 2019? Fortunately, they are ending well as Racing is the best of the lot and a sweet little movie about family and never giving up on your dreams.
Based on the novel by Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain tells the story of Denny (Milo Ventimiglia), a race car driver who adopts a little golden retriever puppy named Enzo at the beginning of the film. Enzo becomes our narrator through the film and is voiced by Kevin Costner. Some of the observations may seem a little simplistic but we have to remember they are coming from a dog, and an adorable dog to boot.
We then get to see Denny’s life play out as he meets a teacher named Eve (Amanda Seyfriend), and they have a daughter named Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). As his family grows Denny’s dedication to racing is tested, forcing him to make choices between his career and family dreams. Seyfriend and Ventimiglia have nice chemistry and I bought their dynamic as a caring couple trying to make things work.
A little bit harder to buy is a subplot involving Eve’s parents played by Kathy Baker (who I swear is always playing a stick in the mud in these types of movies) and Martin Donovan. It is funny that Enzo calls them ‘the twins’ but their actions seemed inconsistent with loving, caring parents and grandparents.
There’s also some interesting scenes involving fantasies Enzo has involving a toy zebra that were very strange and often came at inappropriate times. I have a feeling those segments work better in the book because in the movie it felt like Enzo was all of the sudden tripping on acid out of nowhere!
Other than that, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a sweet movie that pulls at the heartstrings with powerful messages of family, dreams and the importance of our canine friends.
7 out of 10