Movie Review by Rosie Alchalel (’21)
The Hollywood racing extravaganza won two Oscars, for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Editing. (Reproduced under Fair Use Copyright Act).
I’m not the biggest movie fan. Typically, going to the theaters translates into nap time for me, and movies tend to feel like a complete waste of time. Nor am I the biggest car aficionado. I can’t tell you that I understand the car craze nor the typical teenager’s craving for speed.
But I can tell you that I enjoyed Ford v. Ferrari.
Not because it is a cinematic masterpiece–Ford v. Ferrari is definitely not that. It is clearly a movie formulated for the big screen, with every minute of it screaming Hollywood. I enjoyed it because it is a film made for everyone, not exclusively for car fanatics nor only for cinephiles. It truly is a movie that everyone in the audience will find worthwhile.
Why? Because it tells a human story. Because it evokes human feelings.
Ford v. Ferrari star Christian Bale takes a selfie with a fan during the film’s premiere. (Public domain).
Halfway through the movie it finally resonates with race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale) that the 24 Hours at Le Mans are not about speed at all; instead, they are all about perseverance. He realizes that they are about the racer’s ability, or inability, to keep moving for 24 hours and not simply about getting from Point A to Point B. The same can be said about the movie itself. It is not about portraying a series of events efficiently, moreover, it is about conveying the feelings felt by both auto racer and engineer Caroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and Ken Miles leading up to, and during, the race itself.
And there sure are a lot of feelings.
For one, there is a whole lot of frustration. Some towards Ferrari, some towards Ken Miles, and a whole lot towards Ford. (Just wait until the end of the race, you’ll see what I’m talking about.)
Of course, the audience also experiences a thrill any time a racetrack is involved
But there’s also a whole lot of love, apparent in the adorable relationship between Miles and his son Peter (Noah Jupe), in the romantic relationship between Miles and his wife Mollie (Caitriona Balfe), and in the unlikely friendship that develops between Miles and Shelby.
And the best part of all is that these feelings are not simply found on-screen. Magically, perhaps due to the exceptional acting, they jump out at the audience and suddenly, you are rooting for Ford in the same way that you root for your favorite sports team during a playoff game.
Excitingly, this win was never guaranteed, and Shelby preaches this. He goes as far as telling Ford that, “you can’t buy a win, but you can buy the guy who can give you a shot,” referring to Ken Miles, who although being thought of as “difficult to work with,” is given a second chance by Ford. Whether this ends up being a good or bad move, you will have to see for yourself on the big screen.
In all, Ford v. Ferrari is not just for the car lover who walked into the theater knowing exactly what happened at the Le Mans race of 1966. Nor is it just for movie fans in general. It is also for those who had no idea that Le Mans existed until they watched the trailer.
This movie truly is for everyone, and that is why it worked for me.