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Sunday, February 21, 2016

Cindy Prascik's Review of Race

Dearest Blog, today it was off to Marquee Cinemas for the first of February's sports biopics, Race. Spoiler level here will be mild, nothing you wouldn't know from the trailers or from Googling Jesse Owens. 
Race is the story of legendary track and field star Owens, from his early days at Ohio State University through the controversial 1936 Olympic Games. There's no denying Race is little more than your run-of-the-mill Inspiring Sports Movie, but still-timely issues, nail-biting sports action, and some nice performances make it worth a look. Stephan James is a delight as Owens, earnest and sympathetic. 
The film boasts strong supporting turns by Jason Sudeikis, Shanice Banton, William Hurt, and David Kross. Characterizations are pretty broad--the city of Berlin even has its own super-villian-sounding musical cue--but if the storytelling is a bit hokey, it's easy enough to forgive in such a compelling tale. Race runs just a tad overlong and is by no means comfortable viewing. The issues it raises are too near for that, evidence the ugliness in my Facebook newsfeed during the Grammys, or the casual way acquaintances assume it's okay to drop racist comments around me because we both happen to be white. 
Race is a long overdue "thank you" to Jesse Owens for his courage, but also hopefully one small step towards a day when bigotry really is a thing of the past. Race clocks in at 134 minutes and is rated PG13 for "thematic elements and language." It's not the best sports movie you'll ever see--it might not even be the best sports movie you'll see this month--but Race has a story worth telling and a message worth hearing. 
Of a possible nine Weasleys, Race gets six and a half. 
Until next time...

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