There have been movies told from the perspectives of dogs before but somehow The Art of Racing in the Rain feels brand new and totally unique. Available now on Digital and on Blu-ray and DVD on November 5, 2019, The Art of Racing in the Rain is sentimental and moving, full love and good people succeeding exactly as they should. It’s a wonderful reminder of the joys of living and loving. But did I also wake up my cat and have him snuggle up on my lap while I watched? Absolutely I did.
Based on the best-selling novel by Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain is narrated by a witty and philosophical dog named Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner). Through his unique insight into the human condition, Enzo helps his owners — race car driver Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia), his wife Eve (Amanda Seyfried) and daughter Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong) — navigate life with a refreshing perspective on friendship, family, and unconditional love. Through it all, Enzo tries to prepare himself for what he believes will be his next life, this time as a human.
First of all, I cried within the first five minutes of this movie. You just know immediately that it’s going to be so poignant, so heartfelt and emotional, that you might as well start crying right at the start. But nothing in The Art of Racing in the Rain was overly sappy or cliche. It all felt grounded in reality, as seen through Enzo’s eyes. There is something undeniably charming and pure to see even the saddest and most challenging moments in a person’s life from the perspective of a beloved pet.
There is a lot to love about The Art of Racing in the Rain, even if it did make me reach for tissue after tissue. Ventimiglia gives a sweet, often understated performance as Denny. I was rooting for him throughout the entire film, just like Enzo. In many ways, Seyfried’s Eve is a foil for Enzo, someone who comes into his world to steal much of Denny’s love and attention. Though I sympathized with Enzo’s skepticism, I also loved the way the two bonded and, in doing so, imbued both characters with more substance and humanity.
While the full cast does excellent work, special kudos have to be given to the dogs who portray Enzo, particularly Parker who plays Enzo for the majority of the film. The behind the scenes featurettes in the bonus features reveal Parker’s incredible skill at conveying emotion, hitting his marks, and bonding naturally with the cast. The entire cast and crew were impressed that Parker and his fellow canine actors performed so well that little to no CGI enhancement was needed to create Enzo in the final film. That authenticity is vital too as the film hinges on audiences connecting with Enzo and his love for his family.
Another way the filmmakers brought us into Enzo’s world was by shooting from a dog’s perspective in several moments throughout the movie. The featurette “Enzo Cam” explains why this technique was employed and how it enhances the feel and story of the film. In fact, all of the special features are well worth a watch. A full list is included below.
Have your tissues ready and pick up The Art of Racing in the Rain on Blu-ray or DVD on November 5, 2019.
- Featurettes: A Journey to Screen
- Directing the Art
- Enzo Cam
- Behind the Wheel
- The Dog Stays in the Picture
- Enzo’s First Ride
- Audio Commentary by Director Simon Curtis
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