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DVD Reviews, New Movie Releases, Rating

Race to Win Never Crosses the Finish Line

  • Ryan Duncan Crosswalk.com Entertainment Editor
  • 2017 8 Feb
<i>Race to Win</i> Never Crosses the Finish Line

While this hopeful horse flick certainly looks the part of a family-friendly movie, the languid pace, dreary acting, and underwhelming conclusion leave much to be desired. Christian viewers won’t find anything to complain about, but unfortunately there’s not much to compliment either. – 1.5 out of 5.


For years, Hannah Rhodes (Danielle Campbell) has lived a happy life on her family’s farm, but their peaceful existence is shattered when her father dies suddenly of a heart attack. As the family struggles to cope with the loss, a greedy loan shark prepares to foreclose on their home unless they pay him back in 30 days. With no other option left open, Hannah decides to compete in a local riding competition in hopes of using the prize money to save her father’s legacy. Can she overcome her personal demons and find the strength to carry on? And where does her little brother keep running off to?

One thing is for sure, no race has ever held higher stakes.

What Works?

Christian parents are always on the lookout for a movie that’s safe for their children while promoting positive, encouraging messages. In this area, Race to Win is a success. The movie is almost completely clean, and centers largely on themes of family, honesty, and perseverance. It helps too that the film is dotted with pleasant scenery. Viewers are treated to the serene backdrops of farm life, while also experiencing postcard-worthy shots of characters riding horses. If you’re searching for a harmless movie that’s nice to look at, Race to Win will certainly meet the criteria.

SEE ALSO: Hard to Get Fired Up about Inferno

What Doesn't?

Sadly, despite its amiable outer shell, Race to Win has several flaws which make it hopelessly boring. For starters, there’s the story. The “Save the Farm” plotline has been done before, and by movies which were, frankly, vastly superior to this one (Goonies anyone?). Secondly, we have the acting. Danielle Campbell gives her performance a genuine effort, but by the end she just looks and sounds bored.

The same could be said of the supporting cast, who largely shuffle around glumly whispering vague encouragements from time to time. The only character with any personality is the villain, who is so mustache-twirlingly clichéd it’s hard to take him seriously. Finally, we have the pace. Despite the title, Race to Win moves at a snail’s speed and never picks up steam. Big reveals and shocking moments are delivered with all the exuberance of a weather forecast. In the end, the film simply doesn’t have anything to keep the audience invested.

Christian Worldview Elements / Spiritual Themes

While Race to Win isn’t lacking in positive virtues, any mentions of God or faith are basically nonexistent. Hannah’s father is shown to appear in a spiritual form to support and encourage his family, but the nature of these encounters is never explored. His presence is ultimately left up to the viewer to decide. Is he a ghost? A memory? Is God allowing him one last moment with his family? We never know, and in the movie’s grand scheme, it doesn’t really matter anyways.

CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers)

  • MPAA Rating: Not Rated  
  • Language/Profanity: Safely clean
  • Sexuality/Nudity: A man flirts with a girl at a bar, a woman kisses a man for joy, a horse gives birth, two characters strike up a small romance.
  • Violence/Frightening Images: A man dies of a heart attack, a woman threatens to get her shotgun if a man doesn’t leave her property, talk about putting down a horse, a woman shouts at a man who trespasses, a horse scares a man, a man drugs a horse, a sheriff threatens a man with a taser, a man tries to sell his watch while gambling.    
  • Drugs/Alcohol: Several scenes take place in a bar, men drink beer, and horse tranquilizers are used.              
  • The Bottom Line
  • Recommended For: Christians, families, horseback-riding fans people who prefer straightforward movies.
  • Not Recommended For: People looking for more depth or character development in their films, those looking for a more action oriented film.

The Bottom Line

Recommended For: Christians, families, horseback-riding fans people who prefer straightforward movies.

SEE ALSO: I'm Not Ashamed Will Feel Familiar to Any Christian Youth Grouper

Not Recommended For: People looking for more depth or character development in their films, those looking for a more action oriented film.

Race to Win, directed by Teddy Smith, will be available on DVD February 14, 2017. The film runs 1 hour 22 minutes, and stars Danielle Campbell, Luke Perry, Aiden Flowers, Candice Michele Barley, and Thomas Francis Murphy. Watch the trailer for Race to Win here.

Ryan Duncan is Entertainment Editor for Crosswalk.com.

Publication date: December 2, 2016

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