The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein was a popular book a few years ago. It had a very zen flow and was different – the narrator, Enzo, was a dog. It was tough to imagine the book translating to the big screen, but now it’s in theaters. I’ve read mixed reviews, but I enjoyed the film and yes, I had to sniff at certain moments. So bring your tissues.
Denny (the charming and sensitive Milo Ventimiglia) is a lower rank race car driver. He stops one day at a farm and picks out a puppy he names Enzo. It was like a calling, a fated stop. Enzo is voiced by Kevin Costner and he’s a wonderful narrator. His gravelly voice gives a lot of personality and spark to Enzo’s character – Denny’s spiritual guide in life. Denny meets and marries Eve (Amanda Seyfried – always the perfect wide-eyed sweet partner in movies). They have Zoe and that’s where Enzo is sold on this whole family thing.
Of course, Eve’s folks are rich (and rather smarmy mean). Of course there’s a medical drama. Of course there’s family drama. The movie does hit solid plot points that aren’t surprises. Yet, it’s decently acted and I cared. I rooted for Denny to move up in the race world and show Eve’s parents he’s worthy. Through it all, the glue is Enzo – his observations, his concerns, his view of the world – of time, death, relationships, love, etc. The book is better, but the movie The Art of Racing in the Rain made for a decent matinee and will be a good family Netflix pick for you soon. I’ll give it four barks out of five.