RACE” tells the heroic journey of a boy in Ohio who endures racism, hate and injustice on his way to Berlin and Olympic stardom.
Stephan James is Jesse Owens, a boy, boyfriend and father, who grew up in Cleveland and went on to college at Ohio State University. Owens about to catch a bus to Columbus to run track, but must say goodbye his 4 yr. old daughter Gloria and his high school sweetheart Ruth (Shanice Banton) promising to return to marry her.
Larry Snyder (Jason Sudeikis), former track star and coach of the OSU track and field team, fighting to save his job and puts the flames of losing out with a bottle of whiskey. Jesse Owens walks into his office and Snyder agrees to make the fastest boy in America better and part of the Olympic team competing in Berlin. Snyder asked Owens, “Why did you pick Ohio State, not the most forward thinking campus in the country (racism)”. Owens replied,” Because you were here”.
Snyder hooks up Jesse with a job that requires no work so his star can spend all his time focused on running and winning the Big Ten meet. Owens would set records in the Big Ten, national records at the Coliseum in Los Angeles. Jesse astounded the Olympic committee at the trials becoming the fastest man in USA.
Owens Olympic dream was almost short lived. America was threatening to pull out of the games due to Germany’s Nazi politics and treatment of the Jewish population. Avery Brundage (Jeremy Irons), a construction tycoon and liaison for the US Olympic committee, traveled to Germany to inspect the facilities, guarantee the safety of the negro and Jewish athletes and have Joseph Goebbles (Barnaby Metschurat) promise to get rid of the hate posters and stop rounding up Jews.
The Germans agree and by a narrow margin of 2 votes the US Olympic committee agree to take part in the games in Germany. Jesse Owens is now approached by the NAACP with a bribe to bow out of the Olympics and “make a statement for all colored people”. Jesse tells his coach that “there is no Black or White, only Fast and Slow.”
Snyder and Owens went on to make Olympic history and embarrass Adolph Hitler and the Nazi empire.
Race is entertaining, heroic and historic. Families should see this film together and see how a fast boy became a heroic Olympic Champion. Race features great supporting roles by William Hurt, Carice van Houten and David Kross. The gold medal in this flick goes to Sudeikis, as a coach living out his Olympic dream through his athlete.