Tuesday, June 21, 2016

A Movie You Might Have Missed #56 — Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman

"In the Oscars someone votes for you or votes against you.
Racing, you do that yourself."*

Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman

Paul Newman's famous for a lot of things: acting, popcorn, salad dressing. But I tend to forget that he also raced cars. I never realized racing absorbed him so much that he ignored his acting career for it. That's just one of the many interesting facets opened up in this film.

I picked this up because my husband loves documentaries and race cars. This seemed tailor made. I expected to tolerate it but instead I fell in love with this well rounded, subtle picture of a deeply private man.

As the documentary tracked Newman's increasing love and dedication to racing, we saw him through the eyes of acting buddies like Robert Redford, racing team members, his brother, and his wife, Joanne Woodward. Archival footage fills in the gaps but it is the heart felt stories that draw the viewer in. The film winds up not just being about racing but about everything that Paul Newman loved and his talent for focusing on what absorbed him. In the process, we also learn more about what racing means to those who participate in it.

In that sense it reminded me of Muscle Shoals where we came for the music but found surprising depth. Most documentaries don't have that sort of range but Winning is a welcome addition to documentaries that left me feeling inspired and that I could gladly watch again.

* Paraphrased.

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