the art of racing in the rain review new york times – The Art Of Racing In The Rain Review A Canine Car Crash

The first trailer for 20th Century Fox’s The Art of Racing in the Rain is finally here. Simon Curtis (My Week With Marilyn) directs, and the screenplay was adapted from a book by Garth Stein, so perhaps he’s the demonic zebra plush toy in this scenario.

the art of racing in the rain book amazon – ‘The Art Of Racing In The Rain’ Review

The Art of Racing in the RainWhen I left the theater after a 6 p.m. showing of The Art of Racing in the Rain, I walked a few steps to the back of a nearby newsstand, leaned against it for support, and let myself sob for a minute. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through: the sacrifices Denny has made to succeed professionally; the unexpected loss of Eve, Denny’s wife; the three-year battle over their daughter, Zoë, whose maternal grandparents pulled every string to gain custody. In the end, despite what he sees as his own limitations, Enzo comes through heroically to preserve the Swift family, holding in his heart the dream that Denny will become a racing champion with Zoë at his side.

Though Denny proves a devoted owner and all-around good guy, he faces both professional and financial challenges. Yet, as far as his personal life goes, he hits the jackpot when he falls for gentle teacher Eve (Amanda Seyfried). Their model marriage eventually produces daughter Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong), rounding out the cozy household.


The film also caught me with its unexpected smartness. Early in the story, the hero pits and the crew mounts what I recognize as rain tires. But the track is dry. Sloppy, I scoff, a continuity error. But a lap later my eyebrows rose. Denny took a chance on rain coming, swapping tires while the sun was still showing. You only get two or three laps before the softies are ruined. I also lived exactly this scenario, pleading with my crew chief T.C. Kline, then winning at Road Atlanta in 1993 when a sudden downpour wrecked half the field in a 20-car hydroplaning holocaust on the back straight.


Did I mention that my ex used to race showroom” stock? Consequently, I recall the lazy spring and summer week-ends of our youth spent at some of the race tracks mentioned in this story, with the smell of oil, gasoline, and burning rubber in the salty sea air. Ahhh… to be young, in love, and following your bliss again with a dog at your side.

But by emphasizing the animal story (and its inherent emotional heft) over the — forgive me — underdog sports drama, “Racing” misses an opportunity. Denny is a race-car driver, and the film repeatedly drops the name of the late Brazilian driver Ayrton Senna. But the film’s big races, for the most part, take place off screen.


In addition to the real-life Mongolian tradition that informs Enzo’s perspective, many inspirations for Racing in the Rain come from real life. In a website Q&A, Stein explained that he was a race car driver for some time, before he got into an accident that caused him to “semi-retire.” Stein noted that the accident occurred, “ironically, while racing in the rain,” which is a challenge that Denny excels in.

Curtis (My Week With Marilyn) drapes the film in a wistful tone, letting Enzo’s perspective on these events be our entryway into the story. Costner’s gravitas ensures that the dog isn’t some cutesy rascal or hyperactive pup but, rather, an old soul with a melancholy, philosophical bent. Racing In The Rain earns its pathos when acknowledging the poignancy of a narrator who can only observe but rarely influence what’s occurring around him. In an odd way, Racing In The Rain could almost be the Wings Of Desire of dog films: Enzo is an outsider who wishes he had the ability to interact in a more meaningful way with the humans he adores.

It was just last summer that Seattle Refined had the chance to talk with Seattle author Garth Stein about his best selling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain – and the news it was going to be a made into a major motion picture.

Elsewhere on this site my friend Judy compared Garth Stein to Robert James Waller. I think that’s insulting to Waller. It felt like Stein had a list – dog hero, check. Wonderful woman with fatal brain tumor – check. Adorable child – check. In-laws from hell – check. Note on May 18-Oh man. My book club’s selection this month. Just started reading it last night. A dog narrator. And car racing. I dozed off in self-defense.

Never mind the misleading title, The Art of Racing in the Rain” has a dog as the central figure. This is a dying dog movie, a popular genre among people who love dogs or people who need their tear ducts washed out. I readily admit to both in my case. One of my movie pals with an elderly doggy cried his eyes out. Getting ready for the inevitable I suppose.

Did you pick up The Art of Racing in the Rain expecting to get a sweet, lighthearted story about a dog and his family? Yeah, don’t let the cute dog on the cover fool you: this book is going to dive headfirst into some of life’s greatest questions.

Ventimiglia says he was the only actor on set who was allowed to have playful interaction with the trained dogs. So when there’s nowhere else to turn for answers, why not get an outsider’s opinion? Well, Garth Stein knows the perfect outsider to ask.

Parker is the 2-year-old golden retriever who plays Enzo, his costar in Racing in the Rain. Voiced by Kevin Costner , the canine is the best pal of Ventimiglia’s character, Denny. The Art of Racing in the Rain tells us straight up that it’s made from the type of stuff that is designed in a lab to draw tears and whimpers.

Over the next few weeks, Enzo’s health begins to rapidly deteriorate. Realizing that the end is near, Denny arranges for Enzo to be raced around the track where he used to teach. Enzo laments that he will not be able to travel to Italy or care for his family but insists that he has enjoyed a good life. He recalls a television documentary which showcased Mongolian beliefs that once a dog dies, they are reincarnated as a human. Enzo explains that he is looking forward to his new life.

And though Denny loves racing cars—and, Eve says, was really made to do just that—he shows a willingness to sacrifice that side of himself if it means caring better for his wife and daughter. It’s Eve, in fact, who often has to push him to race and pursue his goals.

Stein helped adapt his bestselling 2008 novel about a wannabe race car driver, Denny (Ventimiglia) and his dog Enzo for the screen (and tissue sales). It’s told from the dog’s point of view, although thankfully there’s no uncanny, mouth-moving CGI happening here. Although there is a questionable fever dream of a scene involving a stuffed zebra come to life. For the most part, though, Enzo is just a dog with an interior monologue.

Enzo (voiced by Costner) is looking back on his life, explaining to us through voiceover how he was adopted by Seattle racer Denny (Ventimiglia) as a puppy, quickly becoming his master’s best friend. But soon, Denny falls in love with a teacher, Eve (Seyfried), and they start a family, although Enzo remains central to Denny’s world — especially once difficult circumstances present themselves.

Based on Garth Stein’s 2008 novel of the same name, which was on the New York Times’ bestseller list for 156 weeks, The Art of Racing in the Rain” is the story of the talented but not quite star-level racecar driver Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia) — as told from the viewpoint of Denny’s golden retriever, who has been named Enzo” in honor of the legendary Italian automaker Enzo Ferrari.

Curtis, however, seems determined to make the music swell at every moment something sad happens. While bells might have made Pavlov’s dogs salivate, music and other forms of manipulation can be off-putting if they distract from the story instead of enhance it.

The intelligence of the narrator. I dodged this book for so long because I thought it would be simplistic as just another dog book riding the “Marley & Me” coat tails. I finally listened to this after an Audible sale purchase and was amazed. The depth of the observations made by the narrator about what it’s like to be a dog were spot on. All characters were fleshed out well and I felt the whole range of emotions Denny & Enzo. Fantastic book.

The best thing about a story narrated by a dog? At least someone has common sense. The soul of The Art of Racing in the Rain, adapted from Garth Stein’s 2008 novel, is Enzo, a canine with golden fur, soulful eyes and a way with words; his bons mots of shaggy wisdom come to us in the voice of Kevin Costner. Since puppyhood, Enzo has belonged to Denny (Milo Ventimiglia, of This Is Us ), a Seattle race-car driver who’s good at what he does yet is only inching toward his big break. When Denny falls in love with Eve (Amanda Seyfried) and starts a family, pressures mount. His rich, stuffy in-laws (Kathy Baker and Martin Donovan) don’t like him much. Then his life with Eve takes a devastating turn. Enzo-named after legendary Italian racing star Enzo Ferrari-witnesses it all, peppering his observations with racing argot he’s picked up from his owner, as well as snippets of wisdom he’s learned from one of his favorite activities, watching TV.

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