Racing biopic has complex characters, lots of iffy behavior.
What parents need to know
Positive role models
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Rush is a biopic from director Ron Howard about two 1970s Grand Prix champions, James Hunt and Niki Lauda. It depicts their athletic skill and determination, but it's also about their dark sides: their excesses, dirty tricks, and personal failures. In other words, they aren't anywhere near the squeaky-clean role models parents might be hoping for. The movie includes several car crashes, with blood and bones shown, and a very intense sequence in which one character is badly burned. Language is very strong, with uses of "f--k," "a--hole," and "c--t." Hunt sleeps with many women, and some female toplessness is shown (Lauda's girlfriend is also shown topless.) Hunt is also shown drinking to excess, smoking cigarettes, and briefly smoking pot. Finally, it's no secret that racing is all about merchandizing, and many brand names are shown throughout, including Coca-Cola and Marlboro cigarettes.
What's the story?
In the early 1970s, James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) rises through the ranks of professional car racing, exhibiting a unique daring and charisma on the track. Meanwhile, the decidedly uncharismatic Niki Lauda (Daniel Bruhl) splits with his respectable family and uses money and influence to buy himself into the racing game. Hunt and Lauda immediately become rivals -- a rivalry that helps spur them to new heights of greatness. But before long, Lauda's conservatism and Hunt's recklessness start to add up. Hunt's wife (Olivia Wilde) leaves him, while Lauda's relationship with Gemma (Natalie Dormer) becomes stronger. But when Lauda suffers a terrible accident, Hunt has only a short amount of time to make up enough points to become champion.
Is it any good?
Working with the great screenwriter Peter Morgan, with RUSH, director Ron Howard creates his best and grittiest movie since the duo's Frost/Nixon (2008), or even Apollo 13 (1995). Perhaps Howard was inspired by his earliest days as a filmmaker, working for B-movie maven Roger Corman and making another car-centric movie, Grand Theft Auto (1977). In any case, Howard seems recharged, delving into complex, multi-dimensional characters.
It would be easy to peg the handsome, chiseled Hemsworth as the hero of any movie. But here he's just as flawed as the would-be villain, played by Bruhl with a great deal of intelligence and sympathy. As with any biopic, the supporting players tend to take a back seat to the leads. But the good news is that the characters are interesting enough to overcome Howard's over-excited attempts to supercharge the racing sequences. Rattling footage from between the wheel wells and the road doesn't exactly capture the feel of a race, but many other moments do the trick.
Families can talk about...
- Families can talk about whether Hunt and Lauda are role models. They're Grand Prix champions, but they're also complex people with weaknesses and dark sides. Does this make them bad people?
- Could Rush have been made without the violent crashes and their bloody aftermath? Is this what people really watching racing to see? Why or why not?
- What's the difference between "likable" Hollywood characters and the characters shown in this movie?
|Theatrical release date:||September 20, 2013|
|DVD release date:||January 28, 2014|
|Cast:||Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Bruhl, Olivia Wilde|
|Topics:||Cars and trucks, History|
|Run time:||123 minutes|
|MPAA explanation:||sexual content, nudity, language, some disturbing images and brief drug use|
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