The Race (2009) starring Niamh McGirr, Susan Lynch, Colm Meaney, Jonathan Mason, Ciaran Flynn, Eoin McAndrew, Diarmuid Corr directed by André F. Nebe Movie Review

The Race (2009)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Niamh McGirr in The Race (2009)

But Da I Want to be a Racer

Eleven year old Mary (Niamh McGirr) loves speed and she dreams of one day entering the male orientated world of racing. The trouble is that being a racer costs money something which her parents Katey (Susan Lynch) and Frank Kensay (Colm Meaney) lack as their farm is struggling and because of financial worries so is their marriage. When Mary learns that there will be a go-kart race in town with a big prize she decides that she is going to enter and solve all their problems. But being a girl wanting to race comes with various obstacles from her father, friends and many of the town's folk objecting to her entering the competition.

"The Race" is what I call a grown up children's movie which thanks to its low budget is unaffected by the glitz which often ruin Hollywood movies. What that means is on one hand we have this fun tale of a young Irish girl whose pluckiness is infectious and who is self assured enough to stand up to those who would try and stop her from succeeding. It is a typical inspiring little story which sees her overcome everything from being picked on for being a farmer's daughter to the sexism of the men. Of course with this being and Irish movie to boot it also has some typical quirky charm.

Colm Meaney in The Race (2009)

But rather than being all fun and bubbly there is an almost grittier side to this as the financial troubles on the farm keep it grounded in reality. You get the real sense of heaviness which weighs on Frank's shoulders as he doesn't want to sell the farm. Also the aspects of bullying where Mary suffers an ink attack and a pellet to the face is not amusing but does its job of making us not only sympathise with Mary but see her as an underdog.

The thing about "The Race" which leaves me slightly conflicted is that it is very clear that it is a low budget production. Now part of its charm is that it is unaffected by the usual glitz which come with bigger budget movies. But at the same time it does lack some polish which would make it a little less clunky which is how it sadly comes across in some scenes.

But then whilst at times a little clunky "The Race" also features some wonderful performances with Colm Meaney doing another fine job of playing a warm but troubled father. But it is Niamh McGirr who deserves the praise with a beautifully simple performance which mixes a child's innocence with being forced to grow up with responsibilities and more importantly the youthful belief than anything is possible.

What this all boils down to is that "The Race" is a charming little movie which whilst made for children has plenty to offer grown-ups as well. It is clearly a low budget movie but some of what comes with being a low budget movie adds to its charm.