- the art of racing in the rain, a movie based on the heartwarming new york times bestseller of the same name by garth stein, is now in theaters.
- the story revolves around a combination of unlikely elements: life as seen through a dog's eyes; love and loss; and the grit, skill, and heart it takes to be a both a top racing driver and a good man.
- the movie stars milo ventimiglia and amanda seyfried; kevin costner is the voice of the dog.
if the the art of racing in the rain becomes even a mild screen success, it won't be because of its title. it sounds like it could be an instructional video for aspiring race-car drivers. it's actually about navigating the challenging twists and turns that come at you in life rather than on a wet race circuit. and oh, and it's told through the eyes of a sweetly lovable golden retriever who is reminiscing near the end of his life.
the story revolves around denny swift (milo ventimiglia), a customer rep at a bmw dealership who dreams of becoming a professional racing driver. denny adopts a dog he names enzo—after enzo ferrari, of course—who is voiced by kevin costner. denny begins racing, and he's a natural. as he claws his way up the professional racing ladder, he meets and falls in love with eve (amanda seyfried). they marry and have a daughter named zoe (ryan kiera armstrong) and the three of them and enzo settle into a loving family unit.
enzo adores denny, thrills to fast rides with his master in hot cars, and enjoys watching tv. a show he sees about mongolian dogs leads him to believe that he will be reincarnated as a human, something he dearly wants. to that end he attempts to understand what it is to be human, with both humorous and thought-provoking results.
as denny's racing career roars ahead, his home life comes to a screeching halt when eve develops a fatal illness initially sniffed out—literally—by enzo. denny and zoe struggle to find their way through the tragedy with enzo's help, and their story climaxes with a surprising and touching twist. if the movie is as faithful to the book as these clips promise, a lot of moviegoers will be reaching for kleenex.
if you think that a mashup of a dog's perspective on life, loyalty, love, and loss seems like a predictably hokey hollywood movie formula—and that overlaying auto racing on top of all that might be jarring if not bizarre—you could be in for a surprise. all of those elements mesh beautifully in stein's book. we haven't seen the movie yet, but we can say that these official trailers and video clips promise that it could work on screen just as well as in print.
at least the racing scenes will be spot-on: the book's passages on racing in the rain are authentic, informed by stein's experiences as a sports car club of america spec miata racer. the movie rights to the book, which came out in 2008, were quickly acquired by actor-racer patrick dempsey, who worked with filmmaker-racer jeff zwart and imsa race teams to ensure the racing footage is realistic—as dempsey recounts in this behind-the-scenes video.
we'll know in short order if it all comes together on the silver screen. everyone loves a good dog story. this is a dog story for car nuts. we're going to watch the trailers again—after we get a hold of some kleenex.