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Race

✭ ✭ ✭   Read critic reviews

Canada, Germany, France
·
2016

Rated PG-13 · 2h 14m

Director Stephen Hopkins
Starring Stephan James, Jason Sudeikis, Carice van Houten, Jeremy Irons

Genre Drama, History

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This film tells the true story of track legend Jesse Owens and his quest for gold in the 1936 Olympics, held in Nazi Germany. Owens overcame racial discrimination in the United States to achieve incredible athletic success and challenged the racial ideology of the Nazis in Berlin.

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WHAT ARE CRITICS SAYING?

75

Entertainment Weekly by

Credit Race for showcasing its hero’s human flaws, but the movie unfortunately lets him get away with them a little too easily (his grand makeup gesture to Ruth comes off more creepy than romantic).
63

Washington Post by Alan Zilberman

The film is handsomely mounted and provides a window into the tough choices Owens faced, yet its dramatic licenses oversell its message.
60

Variety by Andrew Barker

Stephen Hopkins’ film offers a safe, middlebrow slice of history that beats a snoozy lecture any day. Making a few admirable attempts to complicate what could have been a standard-issue inspirational sports narrative, Race is better than it has to be, but not by too much.
70

TheWrap by Inkoo Kang

The Jesse Owens to cheer on here is, sure, the fastest man in the world, but also the canny would-be celebrity who knew exactly how to bet on himself in a world that had little use for his dignity and intellect. If that’s not an inspirational story, I don’t know what is.
58

The A.V. Club by Jesse Hassenger

The rest of Race has other moments of engagement in a slickly produced and watchable package. But ultimately, it offers history told as a series of passing anecdotes.
67

Austin Chronicle by Marjorie Baumgarten

As Owens, relative newcomer Stephan James delivers a stirring performance, and as his coach, comedian Jason Sudeikis turns in a solid and smirk-free performance.
50

Miami Herald by Rene Rodriguez

Race never delves under the skins of its characters, because they’re intended to be used only as symbols — reminders of an important chapter in history rendered quaint by this noble but patronizing movie.
60

The Hollywood Reporter by Sheri Linden

Owens’ triumph is long overdue for big-screen treatment, and director Stephen Hopkins delivers stirring moments amid the tension-free stretches, particularly once the action moves to Berlin.
75

The Seattle Times by Soren Andersen

What the picture lacks is a certain spark. It’s a workmanlike effort that diligently covers a lot of bases...but never achieves a transcendence that befits a figure like Owens.

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