Ostensibly, The Art of Racing in the Rain might seem to be a film about cars and dogs. But profoundly it is about life and love.
The story is told from the perspective of Enzo, a golden retriever picked out of a litter by Denny, an aspiring Formula One driver.
As Enzo accompanies Denny to the track, racing provides a metaphor for life, and a source of reflective aphorisms such as: “No race is ever won on the first corner, but many are lost there” and “The best drivers don’t dwell on the future or the past, they focus only on the present”.
We see, through Enzo’s eyes, a different perspective on familiar life events: falling in love, caring for a child, balancing work and family… And the relationship between Enzo and Denny highlights the common thread of love.
Love takes time to build. When Denny first meets Eve, who becomes his wife, it is clear that she is not a dog-person, and Enzo is not an Eve-person. But gradually they too develop a close bond.
Love is self-sacrificial. When Denny’s professional life conflicts with his family responsibilities he relinquishes opportunities that would advance his career.
But misguided love can also be restrictive. Eve’s parents feel that they must protect her from Denny’s lack of financial security and his dangerous job. And when Eve gives birth to a baby girl, they feel it is their duty to step in and provide for her.
As the film switches between the racetrack and the family home we are caused to contemplate life – the bumps along the road, the rain that falls, and the unexpected events that can take us off course. But, most of all, we might reflect on the nature of love – how to build it, how to give ourselves sacrificially for others, and how to enable our loved-ones to flourish.