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A noble effort; worth watching

Author: elsmallo from United Kingdom
7 December 2014

A group of female prisoners at a US institution for young offenders get the sports-movie feel-good life turnaround when their warden picks them for the prison running team.

The film, based on a true story, cannot avoid the clichés of the genre nor is it stylistically or cinematically sophisticated; but this is not its aim. Rather its message is allowed to take centre stage, that a good cause can overcome almost any personal and societal struggle. This is conveyed with growing momentum and charm as the story unfolds.

The young cast put in strong performances and their characters command respect and sympathy. We see how their difficult lives and lack of support as much as bad choices have landed them in the prison system and how patterns of destructive behaviour, peer-enforced, threaten to undermine the efforts of the wardens to turn them around.

The film reminded me, in a condensed manner, of the storyline in season four of 'The Wire' where the corner-boy delinquent children in the school are placed into a research group where they can discuss and evaluate their lives and motivations for engaging in crime under supportive supervision. Racing For Time's message is similar in that it espouses a collaborative, activity-based response to juvenile offenders.

The film is worth mentioning also for its focus exclusively on female young offenders and exploration of their predicaments. Many of the characters have suffered at the hands of men and, though young and attractive, the actors' sexual appeal is not exploited in any way in this film. This makes it unusual in the context of American cinema.

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Question about the end?

Author: maugrim81 from United States
22 September 2014

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

First off i thought the movie was really great! I highly enjoyed it. However, i'm confused about the ending. When Stack and the other female guard are leading in the new girls, they shake their head at one of the 'repeaters' who was it? I didn't think it was Vanessa being it was said she was in high school. Any ideas on who it was?

It kinda left you hanging there and i'm curious if anyone else felt a little in the dark at the end being they didn't show any one or any of the girls. over all though it was a very good movie. i would recommend it to anyone to watch. the guard did a commendable thing for those girls to get them to work hard and believe in themselves.

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4 out of 12 people found the following review useful:

Racing for Time-Running and Discipline; Who was that Repeater? ***

Author: edwagreen from United States
12 March 2009

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Even in this good film, it is admitted that the girls are worse than the boys.

Incorrigible girls at a correctional facility are given the opportunity to form a relay team so as to promote responsibility, discipline and team cohesiveness.

Charles S. Dutton, as Stackhouse, stars in this film. The movie has one of the worst performances I've seen on film in many a year. The warden who is as tough as a cockroach just mouths her lines. She has no expression whatsoever and it appears that she is just going through the motions.

The picture itself is fairly good. Naturally, the 5 girls selected to run the race of victims of society. Notice how a strict female security guard comes to really appreciate the girls as she seems to soften up.

The ending is a mixed bag. We are proud of the girls for showing team spirit when they are eliminated. However, one of them returns to prison and this is never shown. We are left holding the bag.

Remember Run, Spot, run in our early readers. This is run, girl, run!

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