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Movie Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

I know this movie isn’t new new, but I had read the book around the time the movie came out and didn’t want the film to be tainted by my fresh book knowledge as it usually does. Now that the details have been forgotten, but the memory of the feelings remain, I felt I was ready to watch the movie adaptation.

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a story of love, passion, tragedy, and betrayal, all told from the eyes of a very loyal golden retriever named Enzo. Enzo’s owner, Denny, picked him out of a litter in Eastern Washington on his way home to Seattle. Denny lived for cars and racing and had a major talent for being able to control his car in even the rainiest of conditions (something all Washingtonians aspire to do). Enzo accompanied him to the race track, became the pit crew’s mascot of a sort, watched racing videos with Denny at home on the couch, and knew that one day he too would be a racecar driver.

Enzo’s intelligence is made clear not only through his actions of knowing how to properly respond to his owner’s needs and moods, but through the narrating that takes place throughout the movie (given that dogs cannot speak, we get to listen to Enzo’s inner thoughts brought to life by the soothing voice of Kevin Costner). Enzo has a firm belief that he is not like other dogs; he feels more human than dog. And he hopes that if he is a good enough boy, in his next life he will be born a human being.

As we follow Denny through various stages of life (falling in love, having a child, enduring career disappointments), Enzo is as central to the family as any pup can hope to be. And when tragedy strikes, Enzo is there to comfort and help them endure. Though the story wraps up beautifully, it isa tear jerker, at least for me. But I have yet to watch a dog-centric movie that has not brought tears to my eyes. All-in-all, the Art of Racing in the Rain was very well done and had me feeling all the same things that the book did. I would recommend both reading and watching (but not too close to the same time). And the story taking place in Seattle (as any story about rain usually does) made it feel extra relatable and special.

Review by Wendi Black

April 2022



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