No one knows what curves life will throw at you, but if the driver has the courage to create his own conditions, then the rain is simply rain.
– The Art of Racing in the Rain
Though the title may make it seem like the movie is about racing, The Art of Racing in the Rain is a movie about life told from the perspective of a wise canine, Enzo. Kevin Costner voices Enzo’s thoughts as his life plays out on the screen. The movie is based on the 2008 book of the same name by Garth Stein. I read the book nine years ago and loved it. Rumors of a film adaptation had been swarming for years and it went through multiple production companies before it found its home with Fox 2000 Pictures (under the Walt Disney Company). The cast includes Milo Ventimiglia (This Is Us), Amanda Seyfried (Mama Mia), Ryan Kiera Armstrong (It Chapter Two), Martin Donovan (Big Little Lies), Gary Cole (Talladega Nights), and Kathy Baker (The Ranch). At long last, the movie is now released and I got a chance to check it out!
*Warning – The story is outlined vaguely below.*
Enzo loves to watch television so he watched a documentary about a Mongolian legend that taught that if dogs were ready, they would come back as a human in their next life. Convinced he’s ready, Enzo wants to remember everything from his dog life so that he can be even more prepared when he comes back as a human. One of the things he’s learned is the “art of racing” from his owner, Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia) . During the course of the movie he notes the similarities between navigating a race and navigating life.
The movie starts pulling on the heart strings right away. I had tears in my eyes almost the entire time, though they weren’t always tears of sadness. There was such an appreciation for the story the movie was telling and I think any dog lover will feel the same way. The Art of Racing in the Rain tells the heart-warming story of dogs being our best friends and protectors.
Enzo’s life with Denny starts when Denny picks him from a litter of puppies. Denny had no intention to get a dog on that day, but their bond was immediate. Denny was an aspiring Formula 1-driver so he would take Enzo to the track with him, which Enzo loved. Often they spent their evenings watching races and Denny’s in-car videos together at night.
Eventually Eve (Amanda Seyfried), Denny’s future wife, comes into the picture which forces Enzo to process his feelings about sharing Denny, and the races, with someone else. Their family then grows again when Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) comes along and Enzo knows that part of his responsibility in life is to be her protector. Without giving spoilers, the movie catalogs their life together through joy, laughter and pain.
Book to film adaptations are not always well received, but this was one of my favorite book to film adaptations. It has been awhile since I read the book so I went into it without too many expectations though I’ll admit I was looking forward to the crow scene playing out on screen. Unfortunately, it was missing but it did not take away from my overall enjoyment and love for this movie.
If you are interested in seeing this movie because you are a fan of Milo Ventimiglia from This Is Us, you may also enjoy this movie because it brings as many emotions forth as the popular TV drama. I recommend this movie, especially if you are a dog lover, just make sure to have some Kleenex handy!