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Movie Review: ‘The Art of Racing In The Rain’, An Emotional Movie Worth Watching!

Now that everyone has healed from 2008’s Marley & Me, dog movies are making a significant comeback. A Dog’s Purpose was released in 2017 and was followed by A Dog’s Journey in 2019 and A Dog’s Way Home in the same year.

The Art of Racing In The Rain is based on Garth Stein’s best-selling novel of the same name about a dog who tries to acquire the teachings of humanity in the hopes of being reincarnated as a human. Enzo (spoken by Kevin Costner) tells the story of his life to his human, Denny Swift, an aspiring racing car driver (Milo Ventimiglia). Denny’s family expands as Enzo stays at his side, sharing Denny’s passion for cars and seeing his marriage to Eve (Amanda Seyfried) and the birth of their daughter, Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong).

In The Art of Racing in the Rain, a dog narrates the story, similar to A Dog’s Purpose, but he isn’t naive: Enzo is a knowledgeable sage who knows everything. In fact, the entire movie is long narrated by the dog.

Enzo observes family strife, conflict, and sorrow and tries to assist. Because he can smell cancer, he is the first to know when a family member develops it. When someone is in jeopardy, he cries for help, and he exacts canine vengeance on anyone who tries to separate Zoe from her father.

It’s easy to see why these movies are so popular. We can’t help but wonder about these creatures who live with us, who watch over our every move, who love us unconditionally, who soothe us compassionately, and who appear to exist solely to be our friends. It takes little imagination to see their simplicity as a greater understanding than ours. Perhaps it is true if their objective is to love and be loved (along with being nourished).

Picture: Arizona Daily Sun

The film is lovely, with great dog views of the human world, and the story of how Enzo learned from and loved Denny was understandable. Many instances choked me up and left me speechless, such as when Enzo cares for Eve and says, “You are my rain,” and another time when Enzo misses Eve and removes her cap. I mean, how can one film such scenes with such a high level of precision? The best and most memorable scene in the film occurred when Enzo was finally back on track, just as he had hoped. I was in a pool of tears and sulked for hours after hearing the entire narrative in the part, “I wish I could stay with them forever.” A dog’s love is pure and unconditional, and it’s possible that no one has ever truly loved it until they’ve loved a dog.

In a nutshell, it’s Marley & Me meets racing cars, combining a lovable dog, family tragedy, and high-speed, four-wheel action with the extra gimmick of telling the story through the eyes of a cherished pet. This film doesn’t deviate from the increasingly common formula of dogs, drama, and death, but it does end with one of the best feel-good endings ever.

Sources: Roger Ebert, Common Sense Media

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