Review: Ford v Ferrari (2019)

Director: James Mangold
Screenwriters: Jez Butterworth, John-Henry Butterworth, Jason Keller
Starring: Christian Bale, Matt Damon, Jon Bernthal, Tracy Letts, Caitrona Balfe
Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for some language and peril
Theatrical Release Date: 11/15/19 (Wide)
Where to Watch: HBO Max
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 92%

Ford v Ferrari, writer-director James Mangold’s latest, is the last 2020 Best Picture nominee that I saw and, while it is thoroughly entertaining in some parts, it isn’t necessarily Best Picture material (whatever that means).

But, perhaps the most thrilling thing is to see Oscar winners Christian Bale and Matt Damon team up, playing two seemingly opposite characters whose scenes are among the best in the movie. Mangold stages the car racing scenes immensely well, and the editing and sound are simply magnificent and immersive.

Even though the 24-hour Le Mans race is long, it never ceases to be exhilarating. Yet, in the more intimate scenes, the film struggles to be as emotionally resonant and poignant as it wants to be.

Noah Jupe and Caitrona Balfe do their best in near-thankless parts as Bale’s character’s wife and son. And, Tracy Letts, in heavy makeup and prosthetics, has a grand ol’ time playing a crotchety Henry Ford II.

But, Bale and Damon are the ones who carry the film, and the A-list movie stars are more than up to the challenge.

B+

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