RACE – Rated PG-13

race-poster

Producer and Director Stephen Hopkins takes us back to a time in our worlds history where religious beliefs and the color of your skin meant the difference between acceptance, persecution, or even annihilation from the face of this earth ~ and how one man ~ through his God given talents, and perseverance, attempted to change it all… THIS IS RACE!!!

Trying to make his way as a track and field star at OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY in the 1930’s, James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens (Stephan James) is wanting to turn his God given abilities into a better life for himself, his girlfriend/wife Ruth (Shanice Banton) and their beautiful little girl Gloria (Yvanna-Rose Leblanc).

When Owen’s arrival on campus is brought to the attention of Coach Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis), he decides to check out this boy’s talent, and fast…

Seeing what Jesse is truly capable of, Coach Snyder suggests that they put a plan to get Owens ready for the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Bound and determined to show THE WORLD his talents, Owens must face the harsh reality of defiance from “his brothers” here at home, if he goes through with representing “his people” on this world stage, and he must realize too, that Hitler and his regime aren’t going to be welcoming him with open arms when he arrives in Germany either…

I give RACE a rating between MUST SEE ON THE BIG SCREEN and WAIT AND CATCH IT ON DVD ~ James does a superb job of portraying the life and legacy of track and field star Jesse Owens. And Sudeikis is enjoyable to watch too, portraying real-life track star turned Coach, Larry Snyder. So why not rate RACE a straight out MUST SEE? Even though this historical portrayal was entertaining to view, I found that their attempt to make it more relevant for today’s viewer ~ like using slang terms and mannerisms that we use today ~ took away from the ambiance of this film. I also felt that many significant realities of the time were quite frankly too “sugar coated” for my liking~ from the race relations at OHIO STATE in the 30’s, to the rather smooth decision to enter the games by the Olympic committee, to the stoic glimpse of Hitler himself, I felt that from a historical perspective, they could have portrayed a much more impactful and significant story on screen.   I also felt that even though I was so happy to see Jeremy Irons and William Hurt back on the big screen, I felt their roles were way too insignificant for the caliber of acting that they brought to the table. But, even with the few flaws that were glaringly staring me in the face throughout this film, I would suggest that you catch RACE at a theater near you this weekend, or most definitely catch it when it comes out on DVD, so that your and your children can experience the significance of what Jesse Owens did, not only for his race ~ but for the HUMAN RACE ~ sanctifying his place in our countries history books – as an Olympian, an African American hero, and as a man who defied the oppression of the world of his time…with his head held high!!

Kathy Kaiser