The Art of Racing in the Rain (film)
|The Art of Racing in the Rain|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Simon Curtis|
|Screenplay by||Mark Bomback|
|Based on||The Art of Racing in the Rain|
by Garth Stein
|Music by||Dustin O'Halloran|
|Edited by||Adam Recht|
|Distributed by||Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures|
|Box office||$20.7 million|
The Art of Racing in the Rain is a 2019 American comedy-drama film directed by Simon Curtis and written by Mark Bomback, based on the 2008 novel of the same name by author Garth Stein. The film stars Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried and Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo.
In Seattle, Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner), an old Golden Retriever, is dying. He is waiting for Denny (Milo Ventimiglia), his master and best friend to return home. Denny arrives but finds Enzo unable to move, as Enzo begins to narrate his life.
Years prior, Denny decides to purchase a puppy and immediately bonds with Enzo. Denny divides his time between teaching Auto racing and caring for Enzo, while also pursuing a career as a race driver. A year later, Denny meets Eve (Amanda Seyfried) while grocery shopping and the two begin to date.
Denny and Eve are eventually married much to the dismay of Eve's parents, Maxwell (Martin Donovan) and Trish (Kathy Baker), who do not approve of Denny’s career choice. Eve soon discovers that she is pregnant while Denny receives an invitation to an important endurance race in Daytona, which takes place close to Eve's due date. She later gives birth to a daughter named Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong).
A few years pass and family life is idyllic for Enzo, while Denny spends prolonged periods away from home to race. Eve begins to fall seriously ill and Enzo can smell a distressing ‘rotting wood’ odour coming from her head. She is diagnosed with brain cancer and lives with her parents while receiving treatment. Consigned to her fate, Eve admits to Enzo that she is no longer afraid of death and passes away while he watches on. Maxwell blames Denny's absence for Eve's illness, he demands custody of Zoe and threatens to sue if Denny does not comply. Furious, Denny attempts to leave before being grabbed by Maxwell, who falls and breaks a rib in the resulting scuffle. Seeing the opportunity to take the upper hand in the case, Maxwell reports the incident to the police and Denny is arrested for assault, causing him to lose custody of Zoe for an initial 90 days.
Denny continues to race and is offered a job in Maranello testing new prototypes for Ferrari, which he is forced to refuse due to his personal circumstances. Later that night, a frustrated Denny goes jogging with Enzo. Struggling to keep pace in his old age, Enzo attempts to follow Denny across a street but is hit by a car. Denny rushes him to an animal hospital where the vet explains that Enzo is lucky to be alive and may suffer from hip dysplasia in the near future.
Exhausted of money and patience, Denny is persuaded to agree to a settlement whereby he gives up custody of Zoe in exchange for visitation and the dropping of the assault charge. However, Enzo rips the legal document to shreds in an attempt to convince Denny to keep fighting. The court trial arrives and Trish, feeling guilty, admits the truth about the incident while under oath. The charges are dropped and Denny wins full custody of his daughter. He also calls the Ferrari representative and agrees to take the job.
Over the next few weeks, Enzo's health begins to rapidly deteriorate. Realising 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.
Eight years later, Denny, now a successful Formula One driver, is living in Italy with Zoe. Denny is introduced to a young fan who asks for an autograph. Denny agrees and discovers the boy's name is Enzo. Denny smiles and tells the father that the boy reminds him of an old friend. Denny gives the father his phone number and tells him that when his son is ready, he will train him.
- Milo Ventimiglia as Denny Swift
- Amanda Seyfried as Avery "Eve" Swift, Denny's wife
- Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo, Denny's dog
- Kathy Baker as Trish
- Martin Donovan as Maxwell
- Gary Cole as Don Kitch
- McKinley Belcher III as Mark Finn
- Ryan Kiera Armstrong as Young Zoe Swift
- Lily Dodsworth-Evans as Teenage Zoe Swift
In July 2009, Universal Pictures bought the film rights to the prize-winning novel The Art of Racing in the Rain. The project was not able to find a director and came to a halt with Universal Studios. Walt Disney Studios acquired the rights in January 2016. The film adaptation was to be produced by Neal H. Moritz through his Original Film production company.
In 2017, screenwriter Mark Bomback revealed that the project was now set up at 20th Century Fox, saying, "I'm hoping the third time's the charm, and I'm optimistic that next year will be when it finally goes into production."
As of August 20, 2019[update], The Art of Racing in the Rain has grossed $18.4 million in the United States and Canada, and $2.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide total of $20.7 million.
In the United States and Canada, the film was released alongside The Kitchen, Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark and Brian Banks, and was projected to gross $6–8 million from 2,700 theaters in its opening weekend. The film made $3 million on its first day, including $450,000 from Thursday night previews. It ended up debuting to $8.1 million, finishing sixth at the box office. It dropped 46% in its second weekend to $4.4 million, finishing in 10th.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 42% based on 100 reviews, and an average rating of 5.08/10. The site's critical consensus reads: "Its heartstring-tugging overtures may be difficult for dog lovers to resist, but The Art of Racing in the Rain is sentimental and contrived." On Metacritic the film has a weighted average score of 43 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A–" on an A+ to F scale, while those at PostTrak gave it an average 4.5 out of 5 stars and a 72% "definite recommend".
Ed Potton of The Sunday Times gave the film a positive review, observing that the premise "really shouldn't work, yet somehow it steers a course between corniness and barminess. By the end I was crying like a baby, along with many of the other people in my screening, as well as giggling at the preposterousness of it all."
Peter Debruge of Variety wrote: "Granted, there aren't a lot of surprises in The Art of Racing in the Rain. If anything, knowing — or at least anticipating — how the film's myriad tragedies will unfold seems to heighten the effect."
Adam Graham of Detroit News noted that the film "tugs at heartstrings" and said "this tale of friendship and companionship between man and man's best friend is bogged down in weepy cliches ripped straight from the Art of Making the Audience Cry handbook".
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