Published 3:21 PM EDT Aug 9, 2019
Spoiler alert! The following reveals plot details of “The Art of Racing in the Rain.”
Yes, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” made me cry. Duh.
But you probably already knew that if you learned the bare minimum about the new film adapted from the Garth Stein novel of the same name: It’s a dramatic tale about a dog.
As for where it ranks on the emotional canine-story scale, I should note I was always too scared to watch “Marley & Me,” because I was concerned for my own boxer’s health around the time it came out. But whereas “Marley” was a sad dog movie disguised as a Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson rom-com, “The Art of Racing” (in theaters now). doesn’t pretend to be anything other than a pet lover’s saga.
And unlike “A Dog’s Journey,” the movie franchise that pet lovers have already watched through wet eyes, “The Art of Racing in the Rain” feels like a more earned tearjerker. It doesn’t deliver sobs by repeatedly killing and reincarnating dogs, and it doesn’t give its canine star the unfunny inner monologue of a 4-year-old.
Instead, “Art of Racing” follows one dog, golden retriever Enzo, with Kevin Costner as our sage furry narrator, the all-knowing best friend of race-car driver Denny (Milo Ventimiglia).
It’s through Enzo’s wise words that this movie wrecks you. I’m not talking a single tear; I mean full-on sobbing. (Though the movie didn’t quite reach pillow-soaked levels of hysterics brought on by Netflix’s documentary series “Dogs,” which, in its first episode, follows a young girl with epilepsy who meets her service dog.)
Even when I watch Enzo run through the rain in the trailer, I almost tear up. Can you imagine what sitting through the movie was like for me?
Well, I’ll tell you. Here’s a breakdown of how the 110-minute movie went on a sniffle-to-sob scale.
Seriously, this is your final warning: Stop reading now if you don’t want to know what happens.
15 minutes in: Choked up, clutching tissues
At the beginning of the movie, we see an old, feeble Enzo. His story is told as a flashback starting when Denny first picks him out of a litter. The pup quickly bonds with his human over a shared love of fast cars, and becomes something of a pit dog at the racetrack Denny frequents.
Years pass, Enzo is no longer a puppy, and he isn’t too keen on Denny spending time with a new woman, Eve (Amanda Seyfried).
“You don’t mind if I love him, too?” Eve eventually asks the pooch. Enzo might mind a bit, but he makes the most beautiful ring bearer at their wedding, regardless. I can’t stand it.
30 minutes in: My face contorts to some ugly sob shape
When Denny and Eve welcome their first child, Enzo gets a little human sister, Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong). “When she would tell her playmates that I was her big brother, my heart would swell with pride,” Enzo says. I feel a lump in my throat growing. It hurts.
50 minutes in: I’m trying to stifle a sniffle
And then the happy throat lump becomes a sad one: Things start to get extremely depressing.
Eve has a terminal illness. Enzo stays awake all night to watch over her, but can’t protect her. Eve dies, and Enzo tries to distract Zoe with a toy. She rebuffs him, and so the dog focuses on a grieving Denny.
“It would fall to me to provide what he needed,” the thoughtful pooch says as he approaches his master, leash in mouth. The best boy.
1 hour in: First full tear falls down my face
At this point, the movie has combined many dramatic elements that could be tear-inducing on their own: sickness, a child coming of age, a dog being eternally loyal and then, the finisher, the dog being hit by a car. It’s all too much and now some saltwater has finally escaped my eyeball. Woof.
At least Enzo survives the accident. For a while.
1 hour, 30 minutes: Now I’m straight-up sobbing
As the movie starts heading toward the dying-dog portion of the story, there’s no more time for polite solitary tears. Now I’m running out of tissue space for the mascara that’s cascading down my cheeks. Let it rain!
1 hour, 45 minutes: I’m almost hiccuping now
It’s gotten to the point where I’m trying not to take involuntary cry-breaths. I scrunch my face in an effort to stay as quiet as possible as tears leak out of my eyes and – this is new – nose.
The ending, which hints that Enzo has been reincarnated as a boy who loves racing, is outrageously corny, but I don’t care. I watch it and cry harder.
Minutes later, I feel relief. As though I have been purged of stress. I feel calm. Hours later, my eyes sting from having done so much crying.
Full disclosure: I’m writing this while petting my friend’s golden retriever. (Did I invite myself over and invite the dog to rest on my lap as I type? Yes, yes I did.) Also: I first read “The Art of Racing in the Rain” right after my dog died. Could that mean I feel more of an emotional connection to the story than the average film fan? Perhaps; results may vary.
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Author : USA TODAY
Publish date : 2019-08-09 19:21:20