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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Le Mans 66

Ford v Ferrari (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

Established auto maker Ford in 1963, at the cusp of the baby boomers getting their licenses, realizes the new generation is not going to be satisfied driving their dad's cars (“James Bond does not drive a Ford.”) As social commentators Barson and Heller have written: (78)

It took until 1963 for something new and interesting to happen to teen culture, and that was simply the emergence of the beach subculture. For California kids, sand 'n' surf had been around since the forties, but one can under­stand why the teens of, say, Milwaukee weren't immediately caught up in the excite­ment. The Beach Boys caught the wave and the imagination of teens every­where, in 1963, with a dazzling array of hit songs celebrating both beach and car culture—they have cars in Milwaukee, right?—including “Surfin' Safari,” “Surfin' USA”/“Shut Down,” “Little Deuce Coup”/“Surfer Girl,” and (in deference to high-school culture) “Be True to Your School.” The Beach Boys' success was complemented by the oeuvre of Jan & Dean, who'd been around since 1958 doing conventional pop tunes, but who now chipped in with fun-in-the-sun anthems like “Surf City,” “Drag City,” and (early in '64) “Dead Man's Curve,” a death by drag racing ditty that had state of the art sound effects recreating a fatal collision.

winnerTo bolster their image, Ford came out with the Mustang. Now they want a Ford to win the prestigious and demanding Le Mans race dominated by the likes of Ferarri. To that end they have retained retired professional racer and inno­vative auto designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) who for his part wants British car savant Ken Miles (Christian Bale) to be the driver. The mucky mucks at Ford don't like him (“He dresses like a beatnik;”) they prefer more of a company man for the sake of their image. This internal tension (“You can't win a race by committee”) sets up the drama for the upcoming contest in the marketplace.


Gambler's Royal
FlushOne of Kenny Rogers's songs concerned a chance meeting with “The Gambler” on a train, who offered the passenger the advice that “the secret to surviving is knowing what to throw away and knowing what to keep.” The refrain of the song goes:

You've got to know when to hold 'em,
Know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away,
Know when to run.

You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

This wisdom of the gambling man's repartee is old as the hills and was passed on by a raconteur, Agur in Proverbs 30:1, whose four meta­phors offered the same life advice as did Rogers's Gambler. That we find in, (Prov. 30:29-31) “There be three things which go well, yea, four are comely in going: A lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any; A greyhound; an he goat also; and a king, against whom there is no rising up.”

We have Agur's “lion which is strongest among beasts, and turneth not away for any,” and we have Rogers's “know[ing] when to hold 'em.” In our movie the power­ful racing Ford kept over­taxing its brakes, so the race crew decided to replace the whole brake assembly in situ. The Le Mans officials strenuously objected, but our guys stood firm pointing out to them that their rule book allowed for the replace­ment of parts at a pit stop, and the brake assy was a part. So there.

We have Agur's “king, against whom there is no rising up,” and we have Rogers's “Know[ing] when to fold 'em” A king who knows when to give in to his subjects doesn't experience any uprising. There came a point towards the end of the main race where Ford Senior Vice President Leo Beebe (Josh Lucas) demanded that Miles sacrifice his glory for the good of the team. What was he to do? He was still in charge of his vehicle behind the wheel. Yes, but the Beach Boys culture does include a song, “Be True to Your School.”

We have Agur's “he goat also” and we have Rogers's “Know[ing] when to walk away.” The film starts out with Shelby being lectured by his doctor about his bad heart valve. It would certainly kill him unless he avoided stress. He needed to walk away from race car driving.

We have Agur's “greyhound” and Rogers's “Know[ing] when to run.” When a race car crashes, the driver's flameproof suit will protect him from burning, but only if he can separate him­self from the car right quick; other­wise he becomes a toasted marsh­mallow. Recall Jan & Dean's, “Dead Man's Curve.”

The gambler gave the advice:

You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

It ain't over till the fat lady sings. Don't leave the theater before the end credits; there are explanatory end titles..

Production Values

” (2019) was directed by James Mangold. It was written by Jez Butter­worth, John-Henry Butter­worth, and Jason Keller. It stars Matt Damon, Christian Bale, and Jon Bernthal. Bale and Damon were both great. All the per­for­mances seemed true to life. Tracy Letts was awe­some as a fat cat under pressure.

MPAA rated it PG–13 for some language and peril. The music from the 1960s was nostalgic. The editing was sublime. The script was tight. The movie looked and sounded great. Cinema­tog­rapher Phedon Papa­michael's close-ups put us right inside the car.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

“Ford v. Ferarri” impressed me more than I thought it would. It brought back my teenage years when I was awed by fast cars. That said, the film does a balanced job of portraying family responsibility vis-à-vis an uncertain racing career. It serves to make one proud to buy American.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action. Suitability for Children: Suitable for children 13+ years with guidance. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: A few suspenseful moments. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Barson, Michael and Steven Heller. Teenage Confidential. An Illustrated History of the American Teen. Copyright © 1998, 2005 by Michael Barson and Steven Heller. New York: Barnes & Noble Pub. Print.

Rogers, Kenny. Songwriter Don Schlitz. “The Gambler.” Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Pub. LLC. WEB.