Ride Like A Girl

     review by Bobby Blakey

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Some of the best and most inspirational stories are from the world of sports. I always love seeing ones that are not in the usual fields that get the most attention which is the case for the latest Ride Like A Girl. The film stars Teresa Palmer, Sam Neill, and Sullivan Stapleton, but does it capture the essence of both the horse racing and inspiration or will it fail to cross the finish line?

Ride Like A Girl follows the inspirational true story of Michelle Payne.  As a little girl Michelle dreamed of the impossible: winning the Melbourne Cup.  However, a near-fatal fall, threatens to end her hopes of competing in the race.   With the love and support from her father (Sam Neill) and brother Stevie, she overcomes all odds to become the first female to win the Melbourne cup.

 

I knew nothing about this movie or even Michelle Payne going into this film. I have to admit I get worried about films like this sometimes on the overall tone end up being cheesy, but was pleasantly surprised to not only how good and moving it was. The story is pretty simple overall, but there are so many layers to Payne and her family that takes this film to places I didn’t know in both life and the sport of horse racing. For this film to work the horse racing side has to be believable and they did a great job of not only making it work theatrically but also to make you feel like you are right there along for the ride at times.

This is one of those film that offers up a wide variety of emotions dealing with loss, love, passion, and so much more. This is a close knit family that truly loves horses, the world of horse racing and each other. This back drop offers up the typical ideals of any other sports drama, but the bigger family dynamic that is here makes it so much more relatable. Palmer does a great job front and center essentially carrying the film with the always great Sam Neill right there along for the ride. As Payne’s father he is dealing with his own trials, but does a great job bringing his grumpy but loving persona to life. I loved that they got Payne’s real life brother Stevie to play himself in the film and he did a great job.

I loved this film a ton more than I thought I would. It is one of those that is good for the whole family and offers up some great messages, heart, laughs and excitement all wrapped up in a sports family film with a strong female lead.