It would be fair to say that I had limited expectations for The Art of Racing in the Rain. After all it is yet another Hollywood dog story. Where mans best friend holds a universal knowledge and understanding of life that us mere humans struggle to achieve.
Adapted from the book by film producer Garth Stein. The Art of Racing in the Rain takes us on a journey through the life of a Golden Retriever named Enzo. With the film placing the wisdom and inner thoughts of Enzo into hands of Kevin Costner. Yes that’s right Kevin Costner has gone from Robin Hood to Golden Retriever, in a career that just keeps on giving.
Denny (Milo Ventimiglia) is a semi professional race car driver. Who is renowned for his ability to handle cars in wet conditions. Which, let’s face it, is just as well as the cinema fills with tears!. However on getting a new dog called Enzo (Costner), Denny life changes. As both he and Enzo become inseparable, with Enzo guiding and encouraging Denny in his life and career.
When Denny falls in love with Eve and then has a baby, the family unit is complete. Enzo proudly protecting them all under his doggy duty. While also believing that dogs who do well can become humans in the next life. However, as Eve begins to feel unwell the family soon becomes shrouded in darkness. Enzo stoically trying to fulfil his duty while also keeping the family afloat.
Surrounded by his family, Costner’s Enzo takes us on a journey into life, loss and dog biscuits. Aimed squarely at your tear-ducts. And at this point I feel it is only fair to admit that it works. Leaving everyone in the cinema secretly blubbing into their popcorn. In fact for anyone (like me) who looks at their dog every single day. With the knowledge that your furry companion knows more about you than probably any other living creature. This is a film that will ensure you hug your dog closer, while buying them a piece of roast chicken as a thank you on the way home from the cinema.
The Art of Racing in the Rain certainly isn’t cinematic gold. In fact in many ways it feels more in a matinee TV slot than on a cinema screen. But it also never tries to hide what it is, embracing its sentimentality and melodrama at every turn. While sweeping you up in a tale that more sugary than the coke you brought going into the screening. And I for one will give it some credit for achieving its core purpose beautifully.