Race tells the story of 4 time Olympic Gold Medalist Jesse Owens (Stephan James) and how he single-handedly took over the 1936 Olympic games in Berlin while the world was on the brink of another World War. The title of the movie “Race” has double meaning as the movie centers around the fact that Jesse Owens ran several races in the Olympics, but also due to the fact that he was a black man living in the 1930s. This movie tackles many issues that took place at the time, whether it be discrimination or genocide. The conflict between Germany and the rest of the world is felt in this movie as the issue of colored and Jewish people competing in the games comes into play several times.
Just as the countless other biographical movies over the years that touch on the subject of sports, race, adversity, and overcoming the odds, Race is a movie that is straight forward, touching, heart-warming, and educational. It has been 80 years since Jesse ran in these Olympics and I can bet that not many people know who he is or what he did. I’ll confess that I knew his name and that he won Olympic gold medals, but I didn’t know the back story to his competing in the games.
The movie itself is well made and has decent acting. There are many famous faces to help keep the movie interesting, and Stephen James and Jason Sudeikis have great chemistry! I was surprised with the transition that Jason made coming to a drama when he is known for his comedies. He still has his signature style, but he adds to the film rather than take away. The only real criticism I have for the movie is that the issue of race and discrimination is handled too delicately. I’m sure that at this time their were harsher things going on, both in America and abroad, and this movie paints the hardships as inconveniences rather than major problems.
At the end of the day, Race feels like many other sports movies such as Remember the Titans and Miracle, but it goes above the simplicity of an underdog in sports and shows us a person who was an underdog in life. This might not be a movie I watch over and over due to the fact that it is a biography, but this movie was never boring and moved along nicely for something that is over 2 hours long. Thumps up! Co-starring Jason Sudeikis, Eli Goree, Shanice Banton, Carice van Houten, Jeremy Irons, William Hurt, David Kross, Jonathan Higgins, Tony Curran, and Baraby Metschurat.
7/10 Stars – Well acted and told, Jesse Owen’s story is one not to be forgotten!