Movie review: Ford v Ferrari

Wide World of Sports

fordvferrariI read the description of Ford v Ferrari in IMBD. “American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference, the laws of physics and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford and challenge Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.”

Frankly, this doesn’t sound too compelling to me. I’m not a car guy by any stretch. But as a critic put it: “Ford v Ferrari reaches beyond a niche car-enthusiast audience. The screenwriting team has really made it accessible for anyone with or without car knowledge.”

It’s partly an unlikely buddy movie with the clever, smooth-talking Texas-born Shelby (Matt Damon) encouraging, protecting and occasionally fighting with Miles, the prickly and creative Englishman. Certainly, it was a love story without a lot of hearts and flowers between Ken and wife Mollie (Caitriona Balfe). Their kid Peter (Noah Jupe) is nice without being movie-kid annoying.

Shelby exploits the corporate ego of the Ford Motor Company in getting them to let him and Miles build the car they wanted to create. Ford loses yet again to their Italian rival at the 24 hours at Le Mans. The jousting between Shelby and Ford executives such as the Henry Ford II himself (Tracy Betts) was quite delicious.

NOW I remember

Finally, it’s a sports story of speed, endurance, and technology which I ended finding fascinating.

These were real-life guys I had never heard of. But I suddenly remembered that I had seen television coverage of Le Mans when I was a kid. I was probably watching it with my grandfather McKinley Green in the second-floor apartment he shared with my grandma.

I’m guessing it was on ABC’s Wide World of Sports and that the late Keith Jackson was the announcer. The TV anchor certainly was a ringer for Jackson.

At two hours, 32 minutes, it is probably too long by a quarter-hour. But Ford v Ferrari was a film both my wife and I enjoyed when we saw it at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany in December 2019.