Based on the international bestseller “The Art of Racing in the Rain”, Simon Curtis tells the tragicomedy ENZO AND THE WONDERFUL WORLD OF HUMANITY a life from a dog’s point of view and skillfully avoids the kitsch that often automatically comes into play with such a premise. We reveal more about the film in our review.
… which also includes mistress Eve’s (Amanda Seyfried) pregnancy.
The plot summary
Enzo is a good-natured, quietly philosophizing dog (originally voiced by Kevin Costner) who has a deep friendship with his owner Denny Swift (Milo Ventimiglia). As an aspiring Formula 1 driver, Denny often takes his four-legged friend to the race track, where Enzo has gained a deep insight into the nature of people over the years. He understands that the techniques used on the race track can also be useful in successfully navigating the storms of life. And these storms come in quick succession when Denny falls in love with the beautiful Eve (Amanda Seyfried). The two get married, have a daughter named Zoe (Ryan Kieran Armstrong) and enjoy their life together alongside their best friend Enzo. But the times of harmony are quickly over when a tragic stroke of fate presents the family with major challenges…
The Art of Racing in the Rain Explanation of the Ending
A look at current cinema trends gives one the impression that films in which animals play a significant role have developed into the new panacea. In Germany, family films about horses are experiencing a renaissance thanks to “Ostwind” and Co., genre cinema recently presented a surprise hit with the alligator shocker “Crawl” and then there are also dog stories like “Bailey” , which despite adverse circumstances and unfavorable circumstances Signs even received a sequel simply because they had really successful numbers in their field. Now, “Enzo and the Wonderful World of Humans,” the film adaptation of a world bestseller that has been translated into 38 languages, is now being released in cinemas and also focuses on the fate of a four-legged friend. The dog Enzo, named after the founder of the Ferrari automobile empire, takes his audience through his life as the center of a family. Through Enzo’s eyes we experience all of its ups and downs, which become more and more bittersweet as the game progresses, but never lose sight of the silver lining. As absurd as it sounds, director Simon Curtis (“Goodbye Christopher Robin”) sincerely presents the calm story in the form of a tragicomedy, at the end of which you actually seem to leave the cinema a little bit wiser.
Enzo takes part in all phases of his family’s life…
The cinema poster for “Enzo and the Wonderful World of Men” advertises “From the studio of ‘Marley & I’”. Not making this comparison would be quite disastrous, because both films ultimately pursue the same idea. The voice-over narration of the dog Enzo (in German, by the way, voiced by Kevin Costner’s regular voice actor Frank Glaubrecht) lends itself to comparisons to “Bailey – A Friend for Life” – we’ll get to that later. But as in the case of “Marley and I”, “Enzo” is not so much about nerve-wracking events or problems to be overcome that follow a stringent dramaturgy. No, “Enzo and the Wonderful World of People” is also much more about witnessing everyday situations, the focus of which is first a single man, then a couple and later a small family. The events that unfold on the screen arise from the situation and rarely seem to fulfill a specific dramaturgical purpose. The fact that you still root for the characters on the screen as they struggle through the highs and even more so the devastating lows of life is simply because screenwriter Mark Bomback ( “Planet of the Apes: Survival”) doesn’t not only relies on approachability and sympathy when drawing the figures, but the emotional fallout sometimes has such a rapid impact on the family’s coexistence that, despite the careful, consistent (skeptics would say: low-surprise) structure, you can always feel how the protagonists are feeling like.
The problems that the small family is confronted with here are also taken from life. Illnesses and legal disputes are only part of what Eve and Denny have to deal with. But the narrative superstructure surrounding the world of Formula 1 (the original novel, not for nothing, has the much more poetic title “The Art of Racing in the Rain”) is not neglected either. Simon Curtis easily manages – also thanks to his highly committed leading actor Milo Ventimiglia (“Manhattan Queen”) – to transfer the enthusiasm for racing to the audience as well as the skills used in training to deal with everyday problems. The script also uses somewhat clumsy similes here and there; Every now and then, individual advice and insights from Enzo do not go beyond the depth of simple tear-off calendar sayings. At the same time, Curtis takes some rights to simplify things by using the dog as the narrative voice. Especially since there is no excessive trivialization thanks to the equally passionate and calm voice-overs by Kevin Costner and Frank Glaubrecht. While the first “Bailey” film was particularly disturbed by the naivety of the dog observing everything, which was highlighted with a rough brushstroke, Enzo simplifies things here and there in his adventure, but understands the big picture much more quickly than his dog colleague, dubbed by Florian David Fitz .
In this way, “Enzo and the Wonderful World of People” – similar to “Marley & Me” – breaks away from the status of a family film suitable for all ages and is aimed primarily at adults. Of course, there is always room for some amusing moments with the four-legged main character in Simon Curtis’ film, but ultimately the focus is on the family dramas of the Swift family. In addition to Milo Ventimiglia as a Formula 1 driver who is equally passionate about his sport and his loved ones, the stunning Amanda Seyfried plays the role of Eve, the teacher’s wife and mother (“Mamma Mia 2: Here We Go Again”) once again with their naturalness. In the middle part in particular, the actress manages to create some particularly memorable scenes in which her character tries to cover up physical fragility with inner strength and, given the circumstances, credibly fails. Also newcomer Ryan Kiera Armstrong (“It: Chapter 2”) impresses with her casual appearance in front of the camera, which particularly comes into her own when interacting with her adult colleagues. This harmonious ensemble is only complemented by Enzo himself. And although the story is told from his perspective, you never get the feeling that the makers are subordinating the importance of human fate to the cuteness factor of a dog commenting on everything. “Enzo and the Wonderful World of Humans” simply tells the story of life. From life with a dog.
Conclusion: “The Art of Racing in the Rain” is actually about nothing and then again about everything. The film adaptation of the novel of the same name is a wonderfully non-cheesy family drama, told through the eyes of a dog, which certainly gains in cuteness thanks to its four-legged narrator, but does not forget to pay enough attention to the serious, sometimes extremely sad topics.
“The Art of Racing in the Rain” can be seen in USA cinemas from October 3rd.