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The Art of Racing in the Rain: Movie Review

The Art of Racing in the Rain
Star Rating
Movie Info
 

MPAA RATING:

PG for thematic material

GENRES:

Drama

RELEASE:

August 9, 2019

STARRING:

Kevin Costner, Amanda Seyfried, Milo Ventimiglia, Kathy Baker, Martin Donovan, Gary Cole, Ryan Kiera Armstrong

DIRECTOR:

Simon Curtis

More on this movie at IMDb.com

The Art of Racing in the Rain tells the story of a family through the eyes of their dog, Enzo, who watches as his owner falls in love, gets married and has a child. The Art of Racing in the Rain has some heartwarming scenes and revolves around a family, but, because of some elements focusing on reincarnation, talk about manifesting your own destiny and some scary scenes when Enzo the dog’s left alone, the movie is inappropriate for media-wise families.

The Art of Racing in the Rain gives insight into the life of a family through the eyes of its trusted dog, Enzo (Kevin Costner). Enzo narrates as his owner, Denny Swift (Milo Ventamiglia), picks him out of a litter of puppies and integrates him into Swift’s daily routine. The two form a powerful bond that proves dog really is man’s best friend.

Denny is an aspiring Formula One racecar driver, and Enzo is quickly taken with learning everything he can about racing. Enzo attends races and watches videos with Denny, taking Denny’s lessons about the track and applying them to everyday life.

Enzo observes as Denny meets and marries Eve (Amanda Seyfried). Enzo is smitten when the couple becomes pregnant, and Eve gives birth to their daughter, Zoe. There are very strong pro-life messages here, as Enzo recognizes that a child in the womb has value, and it’s an honor to carry a baby. Enzo vows to protect Zoe with his life, and Zoe is just as taken with Enzo as she grows up.

When Eve falls ill, the family must work through unprecedented circumstances as they navigate their new normal. Enzo is confused about the changes but remains a faithful friend to each family member. Though Enzo can’t speak to his family, he demonstrates his love and support through gestures.

The movie’s structure is a bit choppy, as the dog’s perspective leaves the viewer wondering what’s reality and what’s just Enzo’s imagination. The Swifts’ love story is very inspiring, albeit forced and overly emotional at times. Some key plot points feel disjoined. They seem to interrupt the story’s narrative flow. The main character is a passive antagonist, meaning that they actually do not move the story along, but rather sit and watch.

The Art of Racing in the Rain has some heartwarming scenes throughout the story, with Enzo drawing laughs and tears. While the movie may seem sweet and endearing, it grapples with some of life’s most serious questions, such as, Are we in charge of our own destinies and is there life after death? Enzo tells the audience they can manifest their own “wins” simply by willpower, and acknowledgment of God and the supernatural is limited to one mention of prayer and jokes about a demonic stuffed zebra animal. Enzo’s ultimate goal is to be reincarnated as a human, and this promotes a New Age worldview that fails to acknowledge God’s plan for eternal life. Also, there are a few scary scenes. Families should also consider the movie’s approach to eternity and life after death. The Art of Racing in the Rain is excessive and inappropriate for children or media-wise families.

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