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WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
A lovable dog and Milo Ventimiglia. Now THAT’S a winning formula for a tearjerker movie, right? If you’re a fan of This Is Us: Season 1, you’ve probably been anticipating this movie and are prepared to go to the theater with tissues to wipe your inevitable tears. Good plan.
Based on the book The Art of Racing in the Rain: A Novel By Garth Stein, the movie is directed by Simon Curtis and isn’t so much a dog movie or a racing movie, but an insightful look at life’s journey, self-discovery, and the relationships we build.
The movie is extremely contrived and manipulative, yet dog lovers won’t care. Critics see the flaws, but audiences see the heartfelt messages. A movie about a dog is sure-fire box office crowd-pleaser that sells tickets. My heart broke in the very first scene. Our family dog of 14 years passed away just a few months ago and I sobbed for days. Yep, I cried in this movie.
IS IT ANY GOOD? B+
Some people don’t like Kevin Costner as the voice of the sweet golden retriever named after a Ferrari, but I thought it fit perfectly for a wise canine companion. Amanda Seyfried is so lovely and talented. It’s too bad they couldn’t have figured out a song for her to sing.
The human dialogue wasn’t great and even overly melodramatic at times. The dog’s lines were always great though! One of the characters was just too ridiculously over-the-top. More humor would have been nice to balance the ever-present sorrow of an illness in the family and the ensuing legal drama. The dancing zebra scene was funny, totally random, and an entertaining side gag that ran through the movie.
Professional racers Justin Marks and Tanner Foust did all of the on-track scenes as Milo’s character was supposed to be driving. Blue screens were used with Milo in the Turner Motorsports M4 GT4 scenes.
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IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR KIDS? (PG)
- The dog talks about a girl’s “plump buttocks” and then the camera zooms in on a girl’s rear end.
- Pre-marital “relations”
- A woman screams while giving birth (but you don’t see anything)
- Some scenes with a dog relieving himself in various ways.
- Someone dies.
- A custody battle that young kids probably won’t understand.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
There are quite a few insightful lessons we can learn from this movie, almost all of them being shared by the dog!
- Don’t quit
- The techniques needed on the racetrack can also be used to navigate through life.
- Balance, anticipation
- I love the metaphor of rain being an unpredictable element in racing and how we all have rain/unpredictable elements in life that we have to deal with.
- Focus on the present, not dwelling on the past, never forgetting the future
- “The great driver will drive through the problem. The great driver finds a way to keep racing.” – Enzo (Kevin Costner)
- “You have to take a risk if you want to win.” – Denny
- “A true champion can accomplish things that the normal person would consider impossible.” – Enzo
- “Death is not the end.” – Enzo
- “No race was ever won in the first corner, but many have been lost there.” – Enzo quotes Denny
- “There’s no dishonor in losing a race. There’s only dishonor in not racing because you’re afraid you’re going to lose.” – Don Kitch (Gary Cole)
The movie tells us that in Mongolia, they believe that, after a dog has lived 5 reincarnated lives, it will come back as a human. What an interesting idea. The dog explains that we’re here on earth to learn certain lessons and once we do, we can move on. More than 1.5 billion people on earth people believe the philosophy of reincarnation, which is the accepted doctrine among Hindus, Skikhs, Buddhists, and Jains. The gospel of Jesus Christ teaches the comforting doctrine that there is only one physical death (Hebrews 9:27) and that our souls will be reunited with our bodies which are created in God’s image (Genesis 1:26-27).
While many people like the idea of progressing from a lower state to a higher state with each mortal experience, the concept of reincarnation denies the entire purpose of the atonement of Jesus Christ. The scriptures teach us that there was a single act of atonement that is infinite and eternal (D&C 18:23). If you’d like to read more about the differences between reincarnation and resurrection, check out the talk Spencer J. Palmer gave at Brigham Young University. You can find it and other helpful information on www.ChurchofJesusChrist.org.
Movie Review Mom: Trina Boice teaches for BYU-I, is an author of 29 books, and a mother of 4 sons. You can read more of her reviews at www.MovieReviewMom.com You can hear her podcast “Daily Inspirational Quotes Hosted by Trina” on Amazon Echo devices and Volley FM. She founded an online school and continues to create courses at www.LifelongLearningEducation.com Because she is a popular speaker in China and loves to travel around the world, she created www.EmptyNestTravelHacker.com You can see all of her books and win prizes at www.TrinasBooks.com You can also find @TrinaBoice on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.