Growing up I’ve heard about Jesse Owens a lot during Black History Month, but not much any other time. If we were talking about history in class or even sports, his name never came up. I felt a bit unprepared going in to see his story portrayed in the movie “Race,” which serves as a double entendre as a title and duals well throughout the theme of the story. “Race” made its box office premiere on February 19.
The movie stars Stephan James as Jesse Owens, the African-American athlete who won four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
The plot itself was a bit confusing and choppy at first. It was tough to come in and catch on to what was happening without any type of prior knowledge. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn how intricate a role Owens played in such an important time in political history. Although difficult to understand at the beginning, eventually the movie all comes together within the last 15-20 minutes of the film.
“Race” did a phenomenal job bringing together two vastly different struggles of oppression together in one movie. The film paints the picture of African-Americans and Jewish people being able to empathize with each other’s struggles while fighting their own battles. Very rarely have I seen the two battles brought together in one story. It was well done. “Race” clearly portrayed this dual struggle to the audience, giving the viewers the ability understand and respect each hardship.
Overall, it was a great story that needed to be told for the people like me who never knew the importance of Owens and his accomplishments in and for America. The acting was in no way impressive, but it was just enough to help you follow the plot. I would recommend everyone going to see the movie. In some weird way, it ignites the idea of extreme patriotism and the idea of individualism being a healthy balance.