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Home Entertainment: ‘Ride Like A Girl’ DVD review

by Paul Heath

From actor turned filmmaker Rachel Griffiths some this heart-warming directorial feature debut about Michelle Payne, the young ‘girl’ of the title who, against all odds would become the first woman to win the prestigious Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most famous annual Thoroughbred horse race. It is also one of the richest with up to $8,000,000 awarded in prize money.

Based on a true story, Ride Like A Girl, revolves around the Payne family, specifically Michelle (Teresa Palmer), the youngest of ten who dreams of winning the Melbourne Cup. After growing up raised by her father Paddy (Sam Neill) – her mother was sadly killed in a car accident when she was just a baby – Michelle follows in the shadow of her older siblings, most of them successful jockeys, her dreams never dwindling in her pursuit for success.

Ride Like A Girl is one of those movies which comes galloping with dazzling aplomb where you know all the beats that it’ll hit – journey from the underdog to the winner, and a positive, uplifting message that’ll leave a smile plastered across your face come the end credits. It’s almost impossible to watch the movie without spoilers – I’ve even told you the ending above, but it doesn’t matter one little bit.

Very much like this year’s other great crowd-pleaser, Military Wives, Ride Like A Girl will please most tastes. Palmer is superb as the lead in Payne, while Sam Neill also delights (as ever) as the father, Paddy; hard on his offspring for good of the game, but a paternal figure whose very presence warms your innards with is own heart-break that he seems to constantly shield from those he loves. It’s also worth mentioning the presence of Stevie Payne, who plays himself in another a wonderful turn.

Taking the ‘Rocky’ formula, Griffiths also delivers a worthy product and promise as a filmmaker behind the camera as well as in front of it. The horse racing scenes are wonderfully staged and realistic, the performances excellent and the tone just right. The film is largely upbeat, but there’s also an underlying sadness due to loose threaded throughout – and it is balanced wonderfully. A moving, hugely enjoyable film. Absolutely wonderful from start to finish.

Ride Like A Girl

Paul Heath

Film

Summary

A moving, hugely enjoyable film from start to finish, full of excellent performances and wonderfully uplifting story.

4

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