The Art of Racing in the Rain is a 2019 American comedy-drama film directed by Simon Curtis and written by Mark Bomback, based on the 2008 novel of the same name by author Garth Stein. The film stars Milo Ventimiglia, Amanda Seyfried and Kevin Costner as the voice of Enzo.
Produced by 20th Century Fox, it was theatrically released on August 9, 2019, by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. The film received mixed reviews from critics and grossed $28 million worldwide.
In Seattle, Enzo (voiced by Kevin Costner), an old Golden Retriever, is dying. He is waiting for Denny (Milo Ventimiglia), his master and best friend to return home. Denny arrives but finds Enzo unable to move, as Enzo begins to narrate his life.
Years prior, Denny decides to purchase a puppy and immediately bonds with Enzo. Denny divides his time between teaching Auto racing and caring for Enzo, while also pursuing a career as a race driver. A year later, Denny meets Eve (Amanda Seyfried) while grocery shopping and the two begin to date.
Denny and Eve are eventually married much to the dismay of Eve's parents, Maxwell (Martin Donovan) and Trish (Kathy Baker), who do not approve of Denny’s career choice. Eve soon discovers that she is pregnant while Denny receives an invitation to an important endurance race in Daytona, which takes place close to Eve's due date. She later gives birth to a daughter named Zoe (Ryan Kiera Armstrong).
A few years pass and family life is idyllic for Enzo, while Denny spends prolonged periods away from home to race. Eve begins to fall seriously ill and Enzo can smell a distressing ‘rotting wood’ odour coming from her head. She is diagnosed with brain cancer and lives with her parents while receiving treatment. Consigned to her fate, Eve admits to Enzo that she is no longer afraid of death and passes away while he watches on. Maxwell blames Denny's absence for Eve's illness, he demands custody of Zoe and threatens to sue if Denny does not comply. Furious, Denny attempts to leave before being grabbed by Maxwell, who falls and breaks a rib in the resulting scuffle. Seeing the opportunity to take the upper hand in the case, Maxwell reports the incident to the police and Denny is arrested for assault, causing him to lose custody of Zoe for an initial 90 days.
Denny continues to race and is offered a job in Maranello testing new prototypes for Ferrari, which he is forced to refuse due to his personal circumstances. Later that night, a frustrated Denny goes jogging with Enzo. Struggling to keep pace in his old age, Enzo attempts to follow Denny across a street but is hit by a car. Denny rushes him to an animal hospital where the vet explains that Enzo is lucky to be alive and may suffer from hip dysplasia in the near future.
Exhausted of money and patience, Denny is persuaded to agree to a settlement whereby he gives up custody of Zoe in exchange for visitation and the dropping of the assault charge. However, Enzo rips the legal document to shreds in an attempt to convince Denny to keep fighting. The court trial arrives and Trish, feeling guilty, admits the truth about the incident while under oath. The charges are dropped and Denny wins full custody of his daughter. He also calls the Ferrari representative and agrees to take the job.
On Zoe's birthday party, Maxwell and Trish visit Denny and want to patch things up with him and Zoe. Denny is very forgiving as he owes Trish his life and won back his daughter. Mostly Denny was considering asking Maxwell to leave, but Denny is willing to forgive him. They are invited to Zoe's birthday party.
Over the next few weeks, Enzo's health begins to rapidly deteriorate. Realising that the end is near, Denny arranges for Enzo to be raced around the track where he used to teach. Enzo laments that he will not be able to travel to Italy or care for his family but insists that he has enjoyed a good life. He recalls a television documentary which showcased Mongolian beliefs that once a dog dies, they are reincarnated as a human. Enzo explains that he is looking forward to his new life.
Eight years later, Denny, now a successful Formula One driver, is living in Italy with a teenage Zoe. Denny is introduced to a young fan who asks for an autograph. Denny agrees and discovers the boy's name is Enzo. Denny smiles and tells the father that the boy reminds him of an old friend. Denny gives the father his phone number and tells him that when his son is ready, he will train him.
Sound Effects Used
- Hollywoodedge, Old Car Horns Single CRT021302 (Heard once from the television. Note that this is the only cartoon sound effect that was used in the entire movie.)