Race movie review
Race is a film that looks at the life of Jesse Owens, particularly in the months leading up to the Olympic Games in 1936 that were held in Germany. Under Hitler’s rule, Nazi Germany was reaching it’s racist peak, oppressing Jews and discriminating against African-Americans. While the film focuses on Owens, it also takes time to explain why the United States almost boycotted the Olympics, how African-American and Jewish athletes were allowed to attend the games as well as the NAACP‘s push for Owens not attend the games at all. And the film wouldn’t be complete without a look at Owens’ wife and his oldest daughter.
Actor Stephan James plays Jesse Owens in the film, a role originally slated for John Boyega, who eventually backed out to take the role in Star Wars. James was featured in another film we received a couple years ago titled, Home Again. It’s great to see his growth and development as an actor with this latest role. James is the perfect actor for the role of Jesse Owens from what I saw, flawlessly portraying the athlete in some of his most trying and most jubilant times. While Stephan James is just 22 years old, that’s perfect considering Owens was attending college at The Ohio State University during his Olympic success.
The film also stars Jason Sudeikis as Larry Snyder the coach who saw the talent in Owens and helped him reach his Olympic goals. In terms of a movie about an African-American’s success that may be one of the only complaints. It would seem as though the only way a movie can get to the theaters telling an African-American success story there has to be a white savior to help lead the way. This is a true story, and the relationship between Jesse and Larry was a true friendship, but as a viewer it feels the angle was pressed up maybe a bit more than was necessary.
All the other pieces of the film come together quite nicely to provide a history lesson and some context for who Jesse Owens was and the trials he endured en route to making history. It’s also an entertaining film where you can go to the theater to simply enjoy the experience. Particular in these last few days of Black History Month.
Race received a PARL