Race to Win is the story of a flawed man whose sudden passing leaves his family in a desperate situation where they stand to lose everything. It has the quality of your average Hallmark, feel good and everything works out ok movie. For some people, that is a disappointment, but for this girl that’s fairly ok. I love the better Hallmark movies, and though this isn’t one it has that solid family friendly feel.
With Gentry Rhodes (Luke Perry) death, the majority of the pressure to save the family and home falls on his daughter Hannah (Danielle Campbell). Family dynamics, both the functional and dysfunctional ones, come to play. The happy ending comes, as it always does in this type of film, but not in the ways the family expects. There are people out to sabotage, and people reigning in support. I’m not going to pretend that there is anything original or genre shattering here, because there isn’t. What you do get however, from Race to Win (which just received the Dove seal of approval) is a little more honest than other films in its class. When you look past the cliché’ moments, and into the heart of the story you see that it is woven together of raw grief and our human inability to function properly sometimes. It offers the candid perspective that we sometimes wish to sweep under the rug, of the one’s we love having failed us out of selfishness, greed or their own addictions, and loving them anyway. It shows is that we are not made up of our choices and failings, but weak at times and that is ok. This day and age has us, as a society, so consumed with the mistakes of others, and playing victim to that rather than simply trying to carry each others burdens and be our best selves. This film shows that, in times of heart hurts and loss, we share the journey and even though the other parent should be the strong one, they may not be. It shows us that if a child has to rise up and carry the burden for a while, the world will not end and seasons may look differently than the world wants them to look.
Underneath the dialogue, at times breath-taking cinematography, and odd dynamics of the Father’s ghost appearing with advice and information, is a very frank image of a family who makes it through each day imperfectly, and yet they make it through. The heart here is real, and when you add the parts of the film that really just work, it makes for a solid family flick.
Here’s a clip. Look for Race to Win, available on DVD February 14th, and judge for yourself. If you enjoy movies with heart and feel good endings (or Luke Perry, even) It is well worth the watch!