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.
But is this a good dying dog movie? Every year we get one or two to tease our emotions and to remind us just why we love our canine friends so much. In all genres we find good films and bad. We may prefer westerns or mysteries, love stories, action flicks or chick flicks, but in each category we have a range of quality. We like the good ones best.
The admirable filmmakers did their best to entertain us with “The Art of Racing in the Rain.” British director Simon Curtis has done a barge load of work for TV in the UK but has also directed some very worthwhile films. His “Marilyn” attracted favorable notice and I simply love his “Woman in Gold.”
Writer Mark Bomback wrote the script from the original novel by Garth Stein. Bomback can write anything, and well. He has scripts for “Live Free and Die Hard” and “Unstoppable” under his belt. Those films are about as far from the charming, warm, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” as we can possibly imagine.
TV star Milo Ventimiglia plays the race driver with steadfast goodness, presenting a handsome, balanced person, the person who each of us would like to think we can be. His co-star on the human side is Amanda Seyfried. She has shown us her work in many projects including “Mamma Mia” and the wonderful little film with Justin Timberlake, “In Time.” She has the best line in the film, one that choked me up. When the brand new mom presented her brand new baby to the father she said, “This is why we met.” Just a lovely sentiment and one that struck me to the quick.
Kevin Costner provides the voice of the dog narrator.
So yes, this is a good dying dog movie, one we can watch and enjoy.
The three saw blade film runs for one hour and 49 minutes.
Made on a slim budget of $20 million it has brought in only $19 million so far.
The PG-rated film will serve all ages equally well.