Ford v Ferrari (2019)

ford v ferarri poster 2019 movie academy awards
8.0 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 8/10

Good cast, good racing

Plays out as almost textbook bio-sports drama

Movie Info

Movie Name: Ford v Ferrari

Studio: Chernin Entertainment

Genre(s): Drama/Sports

Release Date(s):  August 30, 2019 (Telluride Film Festival)/November 15, 2019 (US)

MPAA Rating: PG-13

ford v ferrari henry ford ii crying matt damon tracy letts

Don’t you hate it when you make your boss cry?

Ford makes big ugly cars in a big ugly factory.  That is the claim by Enzo Ferrari (Remo Girone) and with that the gauntlet is thrown.  Henry Ford II (Tracy Letts) has been convinced by Lee Iacocca (Jon Bernthal) to try to make a car to beat Ferrari in the 1966 Le Mans, but time is short and Ford needs a driver.  Former race car driver Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) has been tasked with the job, but his choice of drivers in Ken Miles (Christian Bale) has been met with criticism.  The Le Mans is coming, and Miles and Shelby hope to pull off something that no one ever expected.

Directed by James Mangold, Ford v Ferrari (called Le Mans ’66 in some countries) is a sports racing drama.  The film premiered at Telluride in 2019 and had a wide release in November of 2019.  It was met with positive reviews and won Academy Awards for Best Film Editing and Best Sound Editing with nominations for Best Picture and Best Sound Mixing.

ford v ferrari christian bale ken miles le mans

Let’s go racing!

Of the films nominated for the 92nd Academy Awards, Ford v Ferrari was the film of which I was least interested in.  I’m not that big into racing (especially movies about racing), I didn’t know much about the story, and big “feel good” biopics are one of my least favorite genre of films.  Ford v Ferrari was exactly as I expected it.  Nothing was wrong with it, but it also wasn’t that inspiring.

Even if you don’t know the story, the film pretty much develops as you’d expect.  Shelby and Miles face animosity from within their own team and the competition with Ferrari almost seems secondary.  Through their trials and turbulations, they teach and learn from the experience…and even a less than rosy race ending, everyone is essentially satisfied.  It reminded me of most Ron Howard and recent Steven Spielberg films and like many of those films some of the real events are played fast and loose for drama.

ford v ferrari 1966 le mans ending photograph ford

The “photo finish”

The cast is good.  Damon and Bales work well together, despite their characters feeling so different and from different paths.  Josh Lucas gets to play the inevitable heavy that would rather have Damon and Bales lose than be a real team player.  Jon Bernthal is good as Iacocca who has to balance the path between Damon and Ford’s owner played by Tracy Letts.  Caitriona Balfe and Noah Jupe are Bales’ supportive family who has to deal with the danger that Bale’s career brings.

The movie is very visual as expected.  There is some great shooting during the racing and testing, but I actually was wanting more racing and testing and less melodrama.  The sound and visuals really come together and like many racing films, that combo does raise pressure.

There is nothing wrong with Ford v Ferrari.  It is thrilling at points and it is a moving story (even with some of the history tweaked).  It just isn’t my type of movie.  It isn’t challenging or thought provoking.  That isn’t a requirement for a film, but for me, that enriches the viewing experience.  If you want a thrill ride, Ford v Ferrari will probably provide, but you go in expecting something, and you get exactly what you expect.

Related Links:

The 92nd Academy Award Nominations

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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