Race Movie Review

We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort.-Jesse Owens

In the history of this country and the history of sports in this country, Jesse Owens is a double legend. Known as a record-breaking track and field athlete and the man who in the 1936 Olympics, would shake the racist Nazi ideology to its core, he is a remembered as a symbol of faith and courage when this country needed it most.

The recent release Race is the story of how Jesse Owens (Stephan James) transitioned from an ordinary track and field college athlete to an inspiration for millions. Coached by Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis) Jesse is initially talented, but Coach Snyder is unconvinced that Jesse has what it takes to go all the way. Jesse proves him wrong and takes his coach all the way to Berlin. But his climb to the top is not easy, especially when he is confronted with bare knuckled racism, both home and abroad while in Berlin.

His true test comes when his Jewish team mates are prevented from competing and Jesse takes their place. In what would be the biggest finger of all to the Nazi Party, Jesse helps his team win the gold medal in place of team mates who are denied their opportunity and a potential place in history.

This movie is a little too long for my taste, I truly enjoyed it. James is magnificent as the main character, both on the track and off. SNL veteran Sudeikis is one of those rare comedians who has the genuine dramatic chops that do not veer off into schmaltz or overacting.

The standout feature for me was that the characters are fully-fledged human beings, warts and all. With Jesse’s fame comes the temptation of straying from his long time girlfriend and mother of his child, Ruth (Shanice Banton). Larry is also fighting the demons of his past.  This movie is also a remind of this country’s shameful past, an era not too long ago when even a celebrated athlete like Jesse Owens was forced to use the side door because of his race.

This movie is amazing and a must see.

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Filed under History, Movie Review, Movies

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